Joy for once homeless Swindon resident awarded his own place after six years with Derventio featured image
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Joy for once homeless Swindon resident awarded his own place after six years with Derventio

A once homeless Swindon resident is celebrating finally securing his own place after being helped for six years by Derventio Housing Trust.

Derventio helps people who have been through homelessness by providing accommodation along with support in dealing with any underlying issues. For those for whom it is suitable, housing and support officers help people move into private accommodation.

We were founded in Derbyshire and now operate over five counties in the UK. We operate 44 houses in Swindon, with capacity to provide accommodation for more than 180 people.

Now we are celebrating after our longest serving resident, David*, has secured his own place again after six years of trying.

David has had to clear a £2,000 debt of which he was unaware of in order to get himself his own flat, and housing officers at Derventio Housing Trust say they are blown away by his commitment after he went through some tough times to get where he is today, slowly paying off the debt bit by small bit.

Having first started as a Derventio resident in 2017, David has spent years working with the housing trust to finally get his own flat in 2023.

After waiting on the social housing register for two years, he was finally offered a one-bedroom flat which at the last minute he was unable to take because of a £2,000 debt of which he was unaware.

Determined to get his own place again, David worked out a plan with the help of Derventio and paid back the debt in small increments each month, using whatever he had left of his benefits – which he did for four years.

Then a change in benefits status due to ill health meant David was able to pay off the rest of the debt which he did immediately – and now with the support of his Derventio housing and support officer who helped him with the paperwork, he has the keys to his own one-bedroom place.

David said his advice to anyone who is going through a hard time in their life is to find someone to talk to and not bottle things up.

After tragedy struck his life with the death of a child and subsequent relationship breakdown, things fell apart for David for a while. But then he found accommodation with Derventio through Swindon Borough Council. Living in communal accommodation, he began to heal emotionally through helping others and doing the cooking and cleaning. He said:

I’d keep the place clean and tidy and cook for the other residents, sorting them out. That helped me because I was helping somebody else. Before that, I had given up on myself. My problems were helped by me helping other people.

The help and support is out there if you need it. I’ve now got a place of my own. It took four years to pay my debt off, but I have now paid off the whole thing. It’s just a relief that I’ve got somewhere permanent. It’s nice and tidy.

The best thing you can do if things are going wrong is to talk to somebody. It doesn’t have to be a professional. The worst thing people do is lock themselves away. All that does is make it worse and worse and worse. I locked myself away for a while and didn’t speak to anybody. But I knew I had people in my life who needed me.

Hollie Shaw, housing and support manager for Derventio South West, said:

David is very grateful to Derventio Housing Trust for the time we spent with him, assisting him where needed and giving him the opportunity to finally live independently. This has been a long process, but he ensured he did everything he needed to along the way, even knowing it would take years. It’s a very well deserved and positive outcome for him – we are very proud and pleased to have been able to help.

*Name has been changed