Search the website


John Newman

A former technical and site manager, John moved into a Sanctuary Supported Living property when he found himself homeless after a sudden – and unexpected – change in his circumstances.

Here's John's story in his own words:

"I had an average childhood and education but gained an apprenticeship and progressed to become a technical and site manager. My work was varied and included hospitals, care homes and social housing including multi-occupancy buildings.

I lost my right arm in an accident which forced me to stop working and also affected my social life and sports. The significant impact on my lifestyle contributed to my long-term relationship breaking down and ultimately resulted in me becoming homeless with just one bag of belongings. I first went to a halfway house before moving into Sanctuary’s Supported Living Service.

Once I got over the initial shock of the dramatic and sudden change to my life, I got to know people and began to enjoy a completely new social circle. The local Sanctuary team suggested I might want to become a family and friends test assessor due to my experiences and the service manager supported my application. I worked in services similar to the one I live in and am really motivated to give back. When your life changes, you really appreciate the security of a warm and dry home with supportive staff on hand to offer help and guidance. This enables residents to gain, or regain, self-respect for themselves and others.

I wish to help improve the service to every Sanctuary customer by using my education, work experience and the experiences of the physically disabled person that I am. Being involved even just a little bit so far has shown that there’s so much work going on behind the scenes. This includes all of the work the NRSP and Sanctuary are doing to stay ahead of the game following the publication of the Social Housing White Paper. I want to be continue being a part of that.

It’s been great to see how all of Sanctuary’s directors embrace resident engagement. It’s really refreshing to get straight answers to direct questions and not to be patronised. I have found a lot of support and benefited from being treated with dignity and respect.

Water has always been a significant part of my life. When I didn’t live near the sea, I would enjoy spending time on local rivers and canals. I’m now involved with the National Coastwatch Institution and it’s become quite a big part of my life, learning about navigation and ships. The local coastal area has specific tidal streams and a high number of tourists and seasonal watercraft. All year we keep a close eye on beachgoers and others enjoying the coast to make sure they stay safe.

I very recently bought a set of used golf clubs and can often be seen on the beach with my sand wedge. I also play lawn bowls which can be tricky for me but the social side is great."