Bricky Mick: from the streets to entrepreneur

"SCT took me off the streets, brought me in, took care of me, and then slowly but surely eased me out into the real world, with the support to get into a job that I enjoy doing."

Meet Mick. Below he tells us how we helped him put his life back together.

"I became homeless four years before I came to Acorn House. I’d been on the streets all that time and it was really hard, really tough. The reason: I’m an alcoholic. I’d heard about Acorn House having a 12 step program, and I’d heard my friend had gone through it. When I never saw him again, I thought it must be good!

So I got into Acorn House – that’s the rehab centre that SCT runs – and I spent six months in there. I received counselling and was given an opportunity to be comfortable and not to have to worry about everything. Just listen to what they had to tell me and teach me.

I received counselling and was given an opportunity to be comfortable and not to have to worry about everything. Just listen to what they had to tell me and teach me.

So that’s what I did, and after I’d been through six months of treatment I looked out into the churchyard and I just thought I could do with some work out there, you know? I’d been a builder before I became homeless, so I went down to the New Hanbury Project and they told me to speak with the gardener. From then I just got on with it, you know?

I got talking to the vicar, Paul, who told me there was a stone mason coming to do some work on the church, and he asked me if I wanted to help him, so I said ‘Yeah, great.’ Together we worked on Shoreditch Church whilst I was staying in Acorn House.

After I left Acorn House I went to an SCT-run supported house, which is like a shared house. You’re still under the care of SCT  which I was for three years. Anytime I had any problems or needed any advice or help with something then I could turn to the them and they’d always be there to support me.

I volunteered again for another two months with the same stone mason company - DBR - who were the private contactors the church had employed, and one of the biggest stone masons in London.

After those two months, DBR offered me an apprenticeship, but they could only pay my travel and expenses. Financially I couldn’t do that, not on benefits, you know? So I took it to my key worker and he had a word with SCT and they then helped me financially to do the six months apprenticeship with DBR, helping me with my living costs. So I could afford to what it was I wanted to do.

After the six months DBR gave me the job, and I worked for them for four years and learnt my trade working all over. At the V&A, Eton School, St Peters Church in Brighton to name a few. Cleaning, masonry and stone repairs, and I got the opportunity to learn all of that.

Now I’ve got my own company called Ground to Stone - I’ve been working for myself for six months now, and it’s going great. I was a ground worker so now I do my own levels and build off of that. It’s a lot better than turning up and somebody else has done your ground work for you and it’s all wrong and you have to change it! 

Now I’ve got my own company called Ground to Stone - I’ve been working for myself for six months now, and it’s going great.I’m happy in my job and I’m happy in my life - Happy to be sober and alive really, my two kids are benefitting from having their dad back, and it’s thanks to Acorn House and SCT.

It’s good that places like Acorn House exist because there aren’t a lot of systems that take you from start to finish. A lot of places you get a little bit of help at the start and then you’re on your own, whereas I found with SCT, it’s been right from the get-go. They took me off the streets, brought me in, took care of me, and then slowly but surely eased me out into the real world, with the support to get into a job that I enjoy doing.

It’s good that places like Acorn House exist because there aren’t a lot of systems that take you from start to finish. A lot of places you get a little bit of help at the start and then you’re on your own, whereas I found with SCT, it’s been right from the get-go. 

I still volunteer with the church, which I’ve been doing now for almost six years, and I’m currently doing some work in the church yard. Anytime I get some spare time I go back there, pick up my tools and crack on."

A big thank you to James Hosking for the interview and edit and to Ursula Underhill for the portrait.

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