CHESS works to support people experiencing homelessness in the Chelmsford and Essex area by providing practical help to get service users into accommodation an employment.
Napthali Burke an ex-solider, known as Nap, is certain that CHESS saved his life and helped him on to a positive path. He said:
“When I left the Army I was a shadow of my former self and I developed what I now recognise as post-traumatic stress disorder. To avoid dealing with my emotions, I kept busy and was constantly out partying. Mixing with a bad crowd, sparked my addiction with drugs and alcohol. I was told to leave my family home and to fuel my addictions, I began to steal.”
Nap was sentenced to a number of short-term prison stays, but each time he was released he returned to living on the street.
“I eventually resigned myself to the fact that I was going to die. I knew that if I had to stay on the street any longer, I would either be killed or kill myself”.
Things began to change when Nap visited a job fair in prison during his 19th and final, prison term. CHESS was there recruiting for Wingspan, their Landscape Gardening social enterprise, that provides employment for ex-offenders.
When Nap’s release date came CHESS met him at the prison gate. They had been able to arrange temporary accommodation and employment for him.
Two years on, Nap is thriving. He works for Wingspan and is studying to become a qualified electrician.
Caroline Taylor, Chief Executive of ECF said:
“We are pleased to support CHESS and their clients. Nap is just one example of the 113 people they gave accommodation to in the last year, and the countless more they have helped. We wish them well in their new premises and look forward to continuing our support of their vital work.”