Wayne received the first ever Give DIFFerently grant. His experience of homelessness started at the age of 15, when his parents lost their family home. For the next 25 years, he repeated a cycle of homelessness, addiction and prison until he reached a tipping point which forced him to admit himself into a treatment centre.
“I had lost the use of my right leg and left arm due to my substance misuse and was in a bad way. I knew I couldn’t carry on, so went to The Wallich for help, and they put me in touch with The Salvation Army. From there I went into sheltered accommodation. I decided enough was enough and sought help for my addiction.”
Wayne has been sober since 2014, and in that time has completed countless courses to improve his employability including qualifications in English, Maths, and counselling. However, despite doing lots of volunteering, he has struggled to secure a permanent job. It was whilst at The Big Issue that this changed.
“The Big Issue told me about Give DIFFerently and said if I pass my test with the funding, they’ll give me a full-time job. I applied, did my test – which I passed first time – and the next day they gave me a van and a full-time contract.”
Wayne now works as a vendor developer at The Big Issue assessing people’s needs and using his experience of long-term homelessness to help others.
“I work ten hours in Cardiff supporting people on the streets, and the rest I deliver magazines in Newport, Monmouth and Ross on Wye.
With his driving licence, Wayne can experience a new level of independence.
“I can visit my family, and go out for food with friends and continue to coach the local homeless football team… Where I am today with this job and the van, is thanks to the Give DIFFerently fund. It’s changed my life.”