Three years ago, at the age of just 16, Daniel Jepson was living in a B&B. Like many young homeless people, his relationship with his family had broken down, resulting in him leaving his home in Bridgend, South Wales, after an argument. His unsettled existence meant that he was soon in trouble with the police and his life was in danger of spiralling out of control until he made contact with Llamau, Wales’s leading homelessness charity. Last year alone, its services were used by 5,000 people. Now 19, Mr Jepson said Llamau’s staff gave him a chance to turn his life around.
“The charity helped me out loads, they gave me support and advice. I had one support worker, but you can ask anyone there for help – they all know what they’re doing and they are there to help you. Without them, I think I would’ve hit rock bottom,” he said. He now lives in one of the charity’s supportive housing projects and has enrolled in its Learning 4 Life scheme, which will allow him to secure a paid work placement and later, he hopes, a job. He has started seeing his family regularly and is glad that his situation is “all sorted”.
His advice for other young people who may find themselves in a similar situation is: “Don’t be down and depressed about it – take it as it comes, and stay strong.”
Llamau, which has existed for nearly 30 years, has benefited from the support of the Garfield Weston Foundation, a charitable grant-making trust founded in 1958. The Foundation, which gave almost £1m to homelessness projects across the UK last year, is also a main sponsor of The Independent’s Homeless Veterans appeal. According to the Foundation’s director Philippa Charles, it sees its role as “supporting excellence” by awarding money to projects that need it. “The key thing is trusting communities around the country to know what the solutions are to the issues that they’re facing,” she added.
In pictures: Homeless Veterans appeal
In pictures: Homeless Veterans appeal
1/20 Glynn Barrell
Glyn Barrell is among the veterans hoping to benefit from the self-build scheme in Plymouth
2/20 Rachel Holliday
Rachel Holliday is converting a police station into a hostel
3/20 Androcles Scicluna
Veteran Androcles Scicluna says performing boosted his confidence
4/20 Christopher Cole
Christopher Cole, 51, from London, spent three years in the Army but left in 1982
5/20 Maurillia Simpson
Former servicewoman Maurillia Simpson with the medals she won at last year’s Invictus Games
Jeremy Selwyn/Evening Standard
6/20 Martin Rutledge
Head of The Soldiers’ Charity, Martin Rutledge, says charities sometimes allow emotion to dictate their choices
7/20 Ben Griffin
Ben Griffin wants to open people’s eyes to the cycle of political violence
8/20 Robin Horsfall
Robin Horsfall, who fought in the Falklands and helped end the Iranian embassy siege
9/20 Mark Hayward
A bed for the night and food helped Mark Hayward out of misfortune
10/20 Ashley Rosser
Ashley Rosser, who served in the RAF, at the Veterans Aid hostel in east London
11/20 Dave Henson
Britain's Invictus Games captain Dave Henson says veterans’ charities helped rebuild his life
Chris Jackson/Getty Images
12/20 Hugh Milroy
Hugh Milroy dispels myths about war-zone veterans through his work as the CEO of Veterans Aid
13/20 Andy MacFarlane and Julie Taylor
Former soldiers Andy MacFarlane and Julie Taylor work at the Jaguar Land Rover plant in Solihull under a covenant connecting veterans with employers
14/20 Mark McKillion
Mark McKillion's experience of living on the street eventually left him feeling as though the only way to escape was to end his life. He survived his desperate jump from Westminster Bridge, and VA's help has restored his "faith in humanity"
Nigel, a navy veteran, remembers living on the beach in the run-up to Christmas, when it rained every day for a week. He slept on a bench for seven years whilst suffering from Parkinson's disease.
16/20 Keith Cooper
Before Keith Cooper had his place confirmed at Avondale House in Newcastle, he was working out whether he could afford to buy a tent to live in
17/20 Simon Weston
Simon Weston, a Falklands War veteran, said even something as simple as a cup of tea can be an important step in getting the life of a homeless veteran back on track.
18/20 Ian Palmer, professor of military psychiatry
Ian Palmer, the first professor of military psychiatry to the British Armed Forces, says that the depiction of all ex-service personnel having post-traumatic stress disorder may stop people who really need help from getting it
19/20 Douglas Cameron
Evgeny Lebedev with Douglas Cameron, who had a hernia operation while serving in Burma
Johnnie Shand Kidd
20/20 Veterans Aid
General Sir Mike Jackson, President of ABF The Soldiers' Charity, called for donations to the Homeless Veterans appeal
The Foundation helped to fund Llamau’s Learning 4 Life scheme, which offers training to young people such as Mr Jepson who find it difficult to engage with the mainstream education system after being homeless. It offers City & Guilds and other accredited qualifications, as well as internships with local businesses.
“We are absolutely delighted that The Independent is highlighting homelessness, because if it becomes a more visible thing, we hope that will have a knock-on effect for the range of organisations we support, which also need help from the general public,” said Ms Charles. “They are operating in pretty tough circumstances.”