Just two years after finding himself homeless, 49-year-old Gerry Hannabus has turned his life around with the support of The Purfleet Trust in King’s Lynn.
As well as helping him to find a place to stay in one of its training houses, the charity has also helped Gerry to transform his health and his future.
Speaking to Your Local Paper reporter Helen Jackson, Gerry, who previously served in the army, said: “The Purfleet Trust has been very important to me. I didn’t have a direction when I came through the doors. They have given me a direction and a lot of support.”
Gerry explained he became homeless following a car accident. He was given emergency accommodation then, after becoming involved with The Purfleet Trust, was able to move into one of the charity’s training houses.
He attends the charity’s Wellbeing Centre at Austin Fields every day where he is able to have lunch cooked by volunteers, use the food pantry to buy groceries, and he has discovered a love for working out in the gym, taking every opportunity available to him.
Gerry said: “When I found out it had a gym that’s what got me through the door and made me come every day.
“Using the gym has taken off about three-and-a-half stone to date. I like the way it affects my mood and I feel energised when I come out.
“The staff at Purfleet have been so good to me. We do other activities like going for walks, swimming and recording how far we’ve come.”
Gerry is now aiming for a place of his own and has enrolled on a literacy course to help him fulfil his ambition of becoming a personal trainer – something which will allow him to share his passion for the gym while helping others.
He is also an active volunteer at the charity’s warehouse which takes in donations of furniture to help people moving into accommodation after becoming homeless.
Support worker Linda Stewart-Jones said: “He is growing in confidence and it has been a pleasure to work with someone that is so willing and wants to make positive changes to his life.
“I’m pleased for him. He has put a lot of work into his journey.
“Gerry is really enthusiastic to help and to keep himself motivated – he’s here at 9am every day.
“When he gets place of his own, that will be the icing on the cake.”
A spokesman for the charity said: “Everyone here is so proud of Gerry and how he has moved along the pathway out of homelessness with hope and positivity.”