HOMELESS AT CHRISTMAS: '˜This place had such belief in me...I would not be where I am without it'

Two former service users at Sheffield's Cathedral Archer Project have talked about how the centre helped them turn their lives around.

Wednesday, 12th December 2018, 9:52 am
Updated Wednesday, 12th December 2018, 9:55 am
Suzanne Nimmo at the Archer Project in Sheffield.

37-year-old James Creed and 38-year-old Suzanne Nimmo have both struggled with drug problems, and Suzanne has served time in prison.

But because of the support of the Campo Lane project, both now work as part of the team, and say the same is possible for everyone, as long as they want it.

The Archer Project: James Creed, Operations manager at Printed By Us.

Suzanne Nimmo - who is originally from Edinburgh - came down to South Yorkshire with her partner and ended up in Sheffield after struggling with alcoholism.

She was a volunteer at the service for eight years before becoming the kitchen's chef a year and a half ago.

'I was chaotic and I ended up in prison after stabbing my partner,' she says.

'I got lots of support - even though I didn't always want it - but everyone kept at me and I started volunteering here.

The mother-of-five currently lives in Grimesthorpe and still sees her two eldest children, while the other three were put up for adoption.

Of her job she says being in charge of a team of half a dozen or more can be stressful and that she sometimes makes mistakes but she is getting used to it.

'People can do it if they want to,' says Suzanne.

'I volunteered in every part of this building before starting in the kitchen which isn't something I ever saw myself doing.

'A lot of people who come in thought I wouldn't be able to do it but I have.

'Some of them say I have changed and maybe I have, but for the better.'

James Creed, aged 37, from Walkley, began using the service after first coming to Sheffield in 2012.

'I was sleeping on friends floors and using drugs on a daily basis and I had just had enough,' he says.

'I decided it was time to get clean and put myself on the '˜12 Step' programme.

'Then I started engaging with the staff here, got a support worker, a GP and a dentist and then a couple of months later got a flat of my own.

'It was just after I'd started volunteering here that the idea of Just Works came about.

Just Works is a social enterprise set up by the Archer Project to provide employment opportunities to people who use the service.

They currently have a cleaning company called Klean Commercial and a custom printing service call Printed By Us, of which James is operations manager.

'I did the first printing workshop and just loved it and was completely off benefits within 18 months,' says James.

'It is great for building people's confidence, giving them new skills and getting them working with the community.

'A couple of years ago people would come to the project where they would gain a bit of stability, get housed and do some volunteering with the project and then have have nowhere to go apart from the Government led schemes.

'With Just Works all the money raised either goes in wages to the staff or back into the the business or the Archer Project.'

And to round off James' remarkable story, he has just become a father to triplets who are now eight months old.

'It is beautiful. I couldn't imagine it any other way. It is such hard work but so rewarding,' he says.

Of his success he says it can happen to others as long as they want it to.

'This place have had such belief in me and have supported me all the way through,' says James.

'I would not be where I am without this project.

'Anyone can do it but you have to be ready. I was ready and luckily I was in Sheffield when I got to that point.'