Preventing Homelessness in Reading

Adam’s story

Adam ran the Reading Half Marathon for Launchpad in 2016 and knows more than most how being homeless feels and how hard it is to come back from a big fall.

After setting up a marketing and design company in 2001, by 2005 Adam was working extreme hours to try and succeed. On many occasions, he would work 36 hours straight with only three hours sleep and then do it all again the next day, desperate to avoid going bust. Debts were racking up, exhaustion kicked in, things spiralled out of control and he ended up losing his health, his relationship, his business and home.

Feeling a failure, Adam moved into a campsite. Although help and resources were all readily available, he felt ashamed. Even Adam’s closest friends and family didn’t know his situation.

It’s amazing how cold it is in a tent even in August. One night, zipped inside and cold, he realised he had two choices; he could choose to drink the cans of cider he had with him (again) or sort his life out. This night really gave Adam an insight into why people turn to alcohol for comfort. Without his strong core beliefs and huge emotional strength, who knows how his life would have ended up. The cider cans remained unopened.

Adam says, “I was barely close to the edge really. I just dipped my toe in and it was terrifying. The consequences are huge for someone who is homeless. And only get worse as time progresses. I could see that. Whatever it took, I knew I had to get out and back into ‘normality’. Back into the system. Tow the line. Fill out the forms. Get a job. Make that huge effort. And it made me realise how hard it is for everyday people to empathise with homelessness as they have never ever been there themselves. People have no idea of the toll that the sheer terror of being homeless takes on someone. The bad decisions you make. The negative effect on your thinking. That’s why I’m sharing my story, raising awareness and money for Launchpad. Launchpad help people come back from a big fall and they understand that homelessness is a lot more than just having no place to live.”

Adam started again. Ironically, he got a job at a housing association, discovering that becoming homeless in the UK was all too easy – especially as a male. No colleagues knew he was living on a campsite at the time. With a job and regular income, Adam moved into a shared house and a year later got his own place. He got himself back on his feet, saved some money and started up his business again.

Ever since Adam’s brush with homelessness he has been shocked by other people’s attitudes to those struggling to get a roof over their head. He is keen to challenge perceptions of who can end up homeless by telling his own story.

Additionally, part of Adam’s journey has been his love of food – which helped him through periods of relentless toil and little reward. He has put on a lot of weight and admits he’s now very unfit. Running the Reading half marathon has two big opportunities, fundraising for Launchpad and improving Adam’s health and fitness.