A former homeless man has turned his life around thanks in part to the support of staff at Higtown Housing Association’s Kent House hostel in St Albans.
Moving to Kent House has not only meant Rhys Walker has a roof over his head, it’s also helped set him up with the skills and confidence he needs to apply for jobs and look forward to the future.
Rhys, aged 26, says he’s received “brilliant” support from staff at the Kent House hostel for homeless people in St Albans city centre, where Hightown aims to empower residents with the necessary social and life skills to move on to independent living.
He has recently completed a five-week IT course, supported by Hertfordshire County Council’s Hertfordshire Adults and Family Learning Service (HAFLS) and delivered by Oaklands College, which taught him vital computer skills.
Rhys said the course, which took place at Hightown’s nearby Martin House hostel, helped him work on his CV and prepare to apply for work, with his ambition to become an estate agent.
“I really enjoyed the IT course, it’s definitely boosted my confidence,” he said. “Before the course I didn’t know how to attach documents to emails, but by the end I felt like an expert, and could do it all myself. It’s helped get me ready to apply for jobs.”
His personal skills are set to be boosted further when he attends a ‘Confidence-Building’ course later this month. Other activities provided to help Kent House residents move on to independent living include mindfulness activities, cooking classes, gardening and budgeting advice.
Rhys, who was sofa surfing or sleeping rough before he moved into Kent House, said the support he has received has helped turn his life around and put him back on track.
He said: “Before I moved into Kent House I didn’t know where I was going in life and had no direction. Since coming here, I’ve been so much happier. When I need support, the staff are always here for me and help me to open up about things.
“Their support has been absolutely brilliant – my key worker has been through thick and thin with me. Now I’m feeling much more optimistic and I’ve just passed my driving test which will help me with my ambition to be an estate agent. I’m going to give it my all to fulfil my dreams – my life is on the right track now.”