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For people that sleep rough, the black, cold endless night is a lot more mentally disturbing than daytime. Why? Try sleeping on cold, wet hard pavement, night after night.

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Introduction

November/December 1997 You're taking a walk through Hyde Park. It is a lovely warm sunny evening, well for most people it is. Have you ever stopped to look in the shadows or down little alleyways? You walk along thinking what shall I cook for dinner when I get in? What wine shall I buy for the party on Saturday night? For people that sleep rough, the black, cold endless night is a lot more mentally disturbing than daytime. Why? Try sleeping on cold, wet hard pavement, night after night. Not too good for back hey? That's not all of it. Have you ever been so scared that you lie awake listening, dreading the sound of footsteps as people go rushing past without even a second glance. Hating the sound when footsteps stop and all you can hear is your own breathing. Your mind works overdrive, thinking has someone come to finish me off? Why have they stopped? All these questions whizzing through people's head, but they never seem to get answered. They're there every night buzzing and whizzing, keeping you awake, not letting you have a minute's rest. Have you ever been so cold and wet that you can no longer feel below your knees and above that all you can feel are your wet rags of clothes clinging to your skin like glue making you shiver all over. Have you ever been so hungry that it feels like you insides been eaten away? The feeling that your stomachs wall is being burned away by acid. Can anyone even imagine what that is like? Having to lye there just wishing for this pain to go away, wishing that the night would soon be over and that in the morning someone will give you enough money for a drink. ...read more.

Middle

I couldn't stand it. I sticked up for Mum but she hadn't done the same for me. I wanted Dad, but he was long gone. Probably got another family. There was no one I could turn to. I decided I would go to London. I lived in Croydon, so it wasn't that far. My plan was to runaway on my way to school but I couldn't. It was my birthday in two days, I would wait until that was over. The night before my birthday, there was another argument. I crawled under the bed and put my fingers in my ears. I couldn't stand. Eventually everything went quiet and I could hear Mum and Vince go into their bedroom. I hated it. It was the final straw. I packed and left at 12:15 am. I was officially 12, but I felt like a toddler. I ran and ran and didn't turn back once. I knew that if I even looked at the house I would feel so bad and go to them. I'd managed to get all my money from my bank account and I'd stolen some from Mum and Vince. �80 to be exact. I had altogether �160. I don't know how I got to London. I just found my self there. I didn't even know what I was meant to do. As I came out the train station, I saw a B & B sign. I was over-whelmed with relief. It was shut. I looked at my watch and found that it was 2:33am. I knocked and knocked on the door for ages and was on the verge of giving up when as light came on n the hallway. A grumpy old man came to the door. ...read more.

Conclusion

Jeanie kept coming to visit me, and eventually she took me to see Mum. Mum was in a terrible. When I saw she cried and I cried. She told me she was sorry and that it was all her fault. She held me tight and I never wanted her to let me go. After about five months of meeting Jeanie again I got approached with a proposal. Jeanie had offered to let me stay with her and they thought I was ready. I have to admit I was scared. I live on my own, without any friends, without any family for such a long time. But I agreed. That was the best decision I have ever mad. I am now 18. I now live with my mum in a flat in Peterborough. Because of all the schooling I missed, I am currently in my final GCSE year. It was a struggle to get to where I am now, but the advice I give to everyone, is never give up trying. I could never have done this though without Safe Harbors, they gave me a second, and now I'm asking you to do the same. Except you wouldn't be giving me a second chance, you would be giving the thousands of people that sleep rough on the streets every night a chance, and that is something special. Thank you. With as little as a �1 donation every month you could help some poor little person have at least a hot meal and some warmth. With a little bigger donation of �3 a month you could provide some unfortunate little sole a warm comfortable bed for the night. So please give the most you can whether it is a one off or donation or a monthly payment. It all helps. ...read more.

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