I was born in basildon in 1966 Of irish parents and did my mental health nurse training in the south London area in the late 80's. My mum was a nurse and my dad a "dagenham boy" that is he worked for fords in Dagenham as a boy apprentice onwards, eventually becoming a mechanical engineer before buying a pub!
After qualifying I worked in London and Wales before my ex moved to Australia with our children in 2002. This is when our troubles began. She went on a 457 visa which was the Australian gov's most abusive and exploitative visa. We went to Townsville district health service.
I was unable to follow till 2005 and in between only saw my children 3 times. It was heart breaking. But when I finally got a 457 visa of my own and started to work for Qhealth too I was equally heartbroken to discover what an awful situation my family were in. Without a doubt the service was, and probably still is, the worst I have ever experienced.
After 7 years of abuse and violence and intolerable levels of stress I had a massive breakdown and stayed away from work for a year. When I tried to return I experienced constant flashbacks and other unpleasant emotions and thoughts. They did not sack me. Instead they ignored a valid medical cert and kicked me out of the country.
I returned to England with almost no possessions and £1400. Three years later they threw my wife out as well.
We have lost everything to the job. And specifically to Qhealth. This includes a family home and both our pensions. I have long since given up trying to call Qhealth to account. They are invulnerable, immune.
Instead I have decided to put my experiences to good use and write about them. I believe strongly that psychiatry is failing, and worse, harmful. I have intended to write about mental health for the lay public in an access friendly way and give them a new point of view as well as challenging the medical paradigm. I feel strongly about this book and have given it years of thought. Only in the past two years have I felt in the right frame of mind to write and have made a great deal of progress but now there is the problem of impending homelessness.
When I came to the UK I was not very well. I spent 4 years living in an 8 by 12 room in east London. It was the worst time of my life. But I was fortunate enough ( I thought) to move into a self contained bedsit in north west London in what turned out to be a hostel. This was luxury compared to my previous accommodation and I thought life was beginning to improve. And I was certainly able to make some headway in improving my own mental health.
However then the benefits cap came in. I have been paying £38 then £40 and finally £50 per week from my job seekers allowance to make up the shortfall in rent. But now the landlord has put the rent up again and wants £75 per week from me. I cannot pay this. Though I do continue to pay £50 per week I expect my eviction notice any day now, after which I have a generous 2 months to find some where else.
To that end I have asked every one I can think of for help and advice and so far all roads have led to Camden council and they have told me that I am not entitled to any help.
My mental health has improved greatly since returning but it has taken a very long while and there are some things that will never improve. I certainly cannot do my old job any more and there are types of work I can't consider.
I have been looking for work without success since my return. So far I have been offered one job, but they would not accept overseas references, which was all I had; and I have done one days work for which I was not paid. I have done everything asked of me by the DWP (Jobcentre) but with the best will in the world I cannot describe them as helpful. In fact after my experiences with them in east London and especially with the dreadful work programme I now live in fear of the Jobcentre and I'm sure I am not alone in this. I believe my chances of employment will increase greatly if I leave London. It will also decrease my living costs. But I have no way of doing this.
The reason I am asking for help is to fund a Motorhome. After a long period of thought I can find no other solution that does not rely on the state. This is a good solution. But it is not a permanent one. I will use the money to buy a Motorhome and put a roof over my head. With this one huge worry removed from my life I will be able to finish my book quickly. At present no matter how fast I work there will not be enough time before I am evicted. The second good thing is that I will be able to apply for jobs anywhere in the country. And thirdly I will be able to travel to see my children.
Of course I will be leaving London permanently. After one hundred years I believe I will be the last family member to leave London. I believe this will also improve my chances of employment. Especially in seasonal work But to be sensible I will also look into some kind of training course, probably in transport or a technical role. I feel strongly that being in London is the wrong place for me, given my peculiar set of problems.
I cannot solve my problems without a little help and it would be naive to think that there is a solution coming from the state. With a motorhome I can avoid becoming homeless, finish writing my book, visit my children, apply for work I could not do otherwise and eventually put a real roof over my head.
If you choose to fund me I will treat it as a most considerate and compassionate loan and pay it back with immense gratitude. If you don't want the money back, nominate a charity and I will give them the money.
I intend to E-publish the book to begin with at a reasonably low price but even a few thousand sales would be enough to pay all the money back and I believe that given the subject matter I should do better than a few thousand. Nevertheless, Even if I fall short via book sales the money will all be paid back as soon as possible from what ever income I have.
£10,000 sounds like a lot.
tax, MOT,servicing £3000
running+living costs £3000
potential fees and charges (parking etc) £1000
For one year.
This is the amount of time I give myself both to finish writing, edit and publish the book and also to find a job. After this time I may have to sign on again. I don't want to do this so my motivation is quite high.
The numbers are rough, but £3000 is the maximum I should need to get a good , safe vehicle. The picture is for example only. I'm a good home mechanic and have never owned a new car in my life so no one is selling me a lemon. Living and running costs are more variable. But I've been living on £23 a week for over a year now so much will depend on how much driving is done. The best I'm expecting is 25 mpg, so I will develop a weekly budget that is adjusted for mileage , once I know what it's going to be. Either way I am able to live very frugally if I can cook for myself.
I intend to obey every law there is with regards to the vehicle, driving and parking and so on.
I don't waste money on drugs alcohol or tobacco. I don't drink coffee and I recycle as much as possible. When I have the Motorhome I intend to sell my TV. I have lived without a TV in my life before for very long periods. It's a distraction and the license is an unnecessary expense.
I don't mind living in a cramped space. I have spent months of my life at sea in small sailing yachts. In east London I could lie on my bed, sit on it, or on a desk chair or I could stand. I had more freedom on a boat. I walk three hours a day starting a 5:30 am with a 90 minute walk.
After that I work. Or at least try to. Worry about the future is a killer for writing. But also the noise of where I am doesn't help. Specifically the sounds of emergency vehicles sirens. For various reasons these I find these very disturbing.
Moving out of London with a private space that I can park legally and work is my solution and I can make it work. I have thought long and hard about this and I can find nothing else. There is no solution to be found elsewhere. This is it. If this fails then when the time comes I will sell what I can, buy a rucksack, tent and sleeping bag and what I can't carry I will have to abandon. This thought breaks my heart.
One Motorhome and one year is all I need to change my life.
And I have finished with the book on mental health I intend to keep writing. I have several good fiction ideas but I will not start a new project until I have finished this one.
While I have internet access have been doing as much research as I can and storing the useful information on everything from caravan parks to parking laws: from e-publishing to eco-living in anticipation of being cut off from easy access to the internet.
I am prepared mentally. All I need is the vehicle. I will get rest rest done. This idea may not make sense for some people but with me it does and past friends would attest to that.
That's it. That's my pitch. Back me and you prevent me living rough and help get a valuable book written and published and so much more.
I promise you the book will make a difference. I was a nurse for 25 years. I was good at it and observant. I'm well read in my own profession and others and I'm no dummy. This will be a good book and worth backing. Plus I will find a job if I can have the freedom to move where ever I need to be to get a life back.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.