Lorenzo grew up in orphanages in Romania and, like many others, then lived on the streets before coming to the UK. He suffered extensive trauma throughout his life and, as a consequence, struggled with his mental health.

“When I first came to The Connection I was in limbo and I didn’t know what to do. I first went to get a shower and a hot meal and some clothes. After a few months I did build some relationships with the staff and formed friendships.” From this point, Lorenzo says “everything changed.” “I accepted help for my mental health, and medical help which I needed. It was difficult for me to engage with the staff in the beginning, I just wanted to isolate and to be on my own. What I found at The Connection was actual genuine nice people. They really cared about me and my situation. They worked hard to show me that life was not only food and a shower, it was much more than that.”

Lorenzo accepts that it wasn’t always easy for him to accept help and The Connection staff worked hard to keep him on track – an experience which isn’t uncommon when people first seek help. “It must have been hard for the staff to get along with me, I always tried to sort out my stuff on my own at first. Until I realised that by myself I couldn’t do much. With their help I ended up changing my whole life. Through coming to The Connection, I realised the opportunity to enjoy a real life. Before coming I didn’t have a good lifestyle, I didn’t have anywhere to live.”

The next steps for Lorenzo will be the biggest ones. He is moving into his own place and looks forward to Christmas in his home, but also giving back to others. He has recently applied to work as a volunteer for a charity to gain some further work experience. Through working with The Connection, he learned that life “is not only about taking, it is also about giving back. I have been helped so much and now it is my opportunity to give back to society’. ‘Even if had to work at Christmas I would do it just to give back, to help someone else.”

This winter we are asking for your support to continue to help people like Lorenzo to change their life and celebrate this Christmas, and many more to come, in the comfort and safety of their own home.