“When I was 18,” he has admitted, “You wouldn’t have wanted me anywhere near you.”
But he turned his life around, and so far has dedicated much of the rest of it to turning round the lives of others.
Here, as The Independent and Centrepoint campaign for funds to establish the first nationwide Young and Homeless Helpline for 16 to 25-year-olds facing homelessness, Mr Carlisle delivers Centrepoint’s New Year’s message:
New Year is always a time for reflection; a time to take stock of your life and get yourself straight for the coming months. Maybe you want to get yourself in shape, or ease off the alcohol for a few weeks. Maybe you’ve decided to get your life admin sorted or start popping a bit of cash into a savings account.
But when you’re young and homeless, these are just dreams. All you really want is to get a safe roof over your head. Somewhere to call home, where you can invite your friends over to play video games and relax.
Such simple things.
At Centrepoint, we’re not just about putting a roof over a vulnerable young person’s head. Day after day, year after year, we help get their heads together, give them some stability and teach them how to run their own lives.
The numbers of homeless young people have been going up steadily every year. Unfortunately, this doesn’t look like it’s going to get any better. From family breakdowns to financial problems, anyone – and I do mean anyone – can find themselves in a situation of homelessness.
Imagine not having a bed to call your own. Having to go from one sofa to the next, exhausting the hospitality of those nearest to you. Having to live your life out of a bag. Going home with a stranger because it’s the only way to stay warm. This is a reality for some young people. A real life situation that is happening in your town, in your city, in 2017.
At Centrepoint, we are here to make sure that no young person goes unnoticed or unsupported. We need to stop this crisis. We need to get these young people back on their own two feet and living independent lives.
It’s our mission to get every young person a job and a home.
Again, it’s a simple thing, but to do this we need your ongoing support. You have already proven yourselves to be amazing, and I want to send a heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you that has already donated. Your help is so, so important.
From the helpline, to the health team. From skills and employability to sports for change. Centrepoint is here to make a real difference in young people’s lives.
So please, this year help us to achieve our mission, and one day soon we may just be able to say that youth homelessness is a thing of the past.
Happy New Year, and goodwill to you all.
How to donate to the Independent’s Christmas Appeal
The Independent’s Homeless Helpline appeal is raising money for the Centrepoint Helpline, a brand new support service that will save young people from ending up on the streets.
To donate you can:
0300 330 2731
HOME66 £5 to 70070
40-42 Phoenix Court