Homeless former joiner walked from Mansfield to Beeston to turn life around

A former joiner who found himself homeless after falling on hard times walked almost 18 miles to look for help.

Geoffrey Cook, 60, worked as a joiner in Mansfield for four years.

Geoffrey Cook, 60

Geoffrey Cook, 60

However, when work began to slow down, Mr Cook found himself laid off, struggling to keep up with rent, and was eventually made homeless.

He said: "I had always been in work, so when I was laid off I didn’t know what to do.

"Within a few months I couldn’t afford to pay rent and ended up homeless and on the streets of Mansfield.”

Feeling too proud to tell friends or family, Mr Cook struggled alone while sleeping rough for four months.

One night whilst sleeping rough, Mr Cook decided to walk from Mansfield to Beeston in search for help.

Mr Cook added: “I was so worried about seeing people I knew, that I went in to the local hospitals to always have a wash and keep clean.

"I didn’t want to fall down the homeless path of drugs or alcohol so I kept away from that scene and tried to keep myself safe at all times.”

Once he arrived in Beeston, Mr Cook found the Hope Centre, which supplied him with food and shelter.

He added: “I was signposted to the job centre, which is when I spotted a flyer with CT Skills Nottingham offering a qualification and a guaranteed interview for a stock auditor role with RGIS. I booked my place and within a couple of days I was beginning the course.”

After his ordeal, Mr Cook says his confidence was so low he felt suicidal, but with the help of CT Skills everything began to change for him.

He said: “When I first came to CT Skills, I felt suicidal and low like I had nowhere to turn.

"At 60 years old, I didn’t think I would be able to get a job again.

"But once I started the PDE course with tutor Jane, it all changed for me.

"Everyone at CT Skills made me feel like me again, they didn’t judge me for being homeless, they looked beyond that.”

After completing the course with Jane, CT Skills prepared Geoffrey for the interview with RGIS which helped him to secure the role.

He added“I couldn’t believe it when I got offered the job, I cried with happiness!

"I now have my own place again and I am happy to be off the streets and back in work.

"My time at CT Skills has been relaxed, informative and of course always enjoyable.

"They really have turned my life around for me.”

Jane Woodhouse, Mr Cook's tutor said: “Geoff has been an inspiration from day one, he has achieved 100 percent attendance on both courses.

"He always gives 100 percent and overcame his fear of technology and used a laptop every day, he has risen above the many obstacles put before him and focused on the positive to enable him turn his life around.

"We are all so very proud of him.”