A charity worker who has been awarded an MBE is now appealing to find his key worker who helped him turn his life around.
Dennis Rogers, 58, has taken a lead in the Groundswell charity Homeless Health Peer Advocates scheme (HHPA) which aims to make the health care service more accessible to rough sleepers; covering costs for hospital visits and medical information. His experience of sleeping rough has meant his role as a mentor has tapped into the community’s needs because he feels he ‘speaks their language’.
Fifty-three percent of homeless people have experienced chronic pain and nearly a quarter have been diagnosed with arthritis, according to a Groundswell research study.
Most shockingly, 28% turn to opioids as a way to manage the pain themselves.
Rogers met his former Thames Reach care worker, Mary, during his bout of alcoholism and sleeping rough. She stopped him being released back into his accommodation where they both believed Dennis would go back to drinking.
When he was starting to lose hope, she persuaded him to stay in rehab for one year.
He told KCW Today how Mary’s work encouraged him to see the potential for change:
“My key worker and I were talking over lunch and I said I want to start work with the homeless ..
“I said I wanna be as good as you, and she said no I want you to be better than me.”
Since working together in 2000, Irish-born Mary has since married and moved abroad which means they have lost contact.
Please use social media and #FindMary so Rogers can reach out and tell her ‘how much of a difference her support made’.
If you are able to help with our search to #FindMary please contact Becky: firstname.lastname@example.org or send a direct message via Twitter or Facebook @ItsGroundswell.