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Looking forward to a happier 2021

Our news stories this year have been dominated by Coronavirus and its impact on our lives.

So it’s nice to be able to end 2020 with a positive news story.

Most of us are hoping that 2021 will be better than this year but PCH resident John has more optimism than many to hope for the best.

After years of homelessness and drug addiction, John is looking forward to a brighter future after kicking his habit and moving into a permanent home.

The 27-year-old has recently moved into one of our city centre flats after two years living in the Salvation Army hostel in Devonport.

Before that, he slept rough in various South West towns and cities and battled heroin and crack dependencies as well as depression.

John says he feels like he’s won the lottery this year and sometimes can’t believe it’s all real.

He said: “I was homeless for a long time, around six or seven years in the South West. I suffered from depression and that’s how I got into drugs.

“I came to Plymouth because I wanted to get clean. My mum is from Plymouth and it was a new start for me.

“I was on methadone for two years and gave that up in October.

“The Salvation Army is good if you have come off the streets but it didn’t allow for a smooth transition to recovery. I was surrounded by people who had come out of jail.

“I feel like I’m now looking at a blank canvas.”

John, a qualified carpenter, said: “I’m reluctant to rush back to work. I’d like to take four or five months to let the dust settle. I still have episodes of depression. I could have two or three bad days a week where I lack motivation.

“If anything, I’d like to go back into education. I’ve thought about doing a carpentry course at college or possibly doing the Open University. You don’t realise you squander education when you’re young.

“I’m lucky I’ve got family around. They are feeling more confident about me. I’m eternally grateful for everything.”