Seascape Ayr is a local Ayrshire charity. Its objectives are to tackle homelessness, poverty and isolation. It provides advice and support services as well as practical help with housing related crises
Every journey into and out of
homelessness is different.
Every person is unique.
Here are just a few of their
Aged 62, Andy left home at 16 and served round the
world with the Royal Navy before working in skilled
jobs in industry back in Scotland
After two heart attacks Andy lost his work, money
became tight and also his marriage broke down.
Now out of work and with no partner he gave up his
home in Irvine with the intention of moving in with his
mother to look after her.
Unfortunately, his mother was suffering with dementia
and no longer recognised him or any of the family and
did not want this “stranger” in the house.
“It was heart breaking to see my mother
react to me like that, but what was I to do?
So I moved into the garden shed instead.
”It was only when Andy mentioned in passing to
someone in the pub that he was living in a shed that
they said “that makes you homeless mate”.
“I didn’t think of myself as homeless. I’ve
always looked after myself and I’ve always
coped. After twenty two years in the navy I
thought, I can cope with a shed”.
Andy went the next day to the council and
was formally assessed as homeless and
referred to Seascape for support.
Seascape was able to help Andy with benefits claims
and was offered help with a deposit guarantee to
move into a private rented flat.
But at 62, what bothered him was having the certainty
of a permanent home. In the end he was offered an
unfurnished council flat just before Christmas.
Just a wee sting in the tail. When he moved in, there
was nothing, no curtains, no carpet and nowhere to
Here, Seascape was able to help with small grants to
provide curtains and carpets and the Pass it On
scheme provided donations of furniture and
Steve had been with his partner for 19 years and had a
young son with his partner when things began to fall
Having moved in with his brother, he was still taking
custody of his son over weekends and unknown to him,
his ex-partner had run up credit debts and arrears on
their old council property which he was being held liable
for. “Money was very tight already, I found I had debts of
5 or 6 thousand which my ex-partner had run up”.
He ended up living in his car. Steve was working
throughout as a janitor, “I thought I was keeping on top of
everything but people at work could see that I was
getting dishevelled and looking down”.
There comes a time when favours are exhausted, and
Steve had to leave his brother’s home. He ended up
living in his car after that. Steve was working throughout
as a janitor,
“I thought I was keeping on top of
everything but people at work could see
that I was getting dishevelled and
In fact, Steve was having a “complete nervous
breakdown” in his words, his GP found he was severely
clinically depressed and was shocked enough at his
condition to refer him to a psychiatrist.
“At that time I didn’t look out of the window
and see the birds and the trees. I saw the drop.
I would have done it in a heartbeat”.
“I got through it no thanks to
anyone except Seascape..
..without them, nothing was happening, with
them all of a sudden the “homeless” machinery
started working. After Seascape’s intervention, I
was given a permanent flat. They helped sort
out my tax credits for my son, which it turned
out was going to my partner when it should have
been coming to me…this took seascape six
months to sort out…in the meantime we were
Fahim grew up with the war. In
Afghanistan his family was doing well, his
father a colonel in the Air Force and all his
siblings have all been to university. His
dream was to become a civil engineer.
When the UK and US became involved in
the Afghan conflicts all that changed.
Because of his English language, for two
years Fahim became a liaison officer for
UK troops, translating between English
and Pashto and Dari.
After the British withdrawal of troops in
2014, Fahim faced an uncertain and
unsafe future in Afghanistan because of
his work with the UK troops. Quite
literally, there was a price on his head.
Fahim was eventually allowed to come to the UK as
a refugee. The day he arrived in Scotland from
Afghanistan Fahim described it as “Day Zero”.
“In Afghanistan my brother and I had to fetch water
for the family from miles away, running to dodge
bullets. In Scotland, there were no bullets, but when
I arrived here I faced other problems. I had nothing
and no idea of what I would do here, how I would
live, even where to shop”.
Seascape’s refugee resettlement project met
“They helped me with everything from opening a
bank account to shopping. They even travelled with
me to Glasgow to arrange my National Insurance
Number. There is nothing like it in Afghanistan. I
would never have found my way around the system
without Seascape’s help.”
For the first 18 months, the terms of Fahim’s
visa did not allow him to study or to work, so
after a while he had had “enough of being on
He began doing voluntary work for Seascape
using his translating skills in Seascape’s
refugee resettlement program.
Fahim is now a paid employee of Seascape
working as a Housing Support worker in our
Early Interventions team.
“The job entails a lot of listening to people
who have come for help, not to do things for
them but supporting them to help themselves
through problems they face. Although my
problems in Afghanistan were very different, I
have a lot of empathy with people who face
daily difficulties just getting by in life”.
“I have always been a gambler I would
say, I had my first bet aged 10 would you
believe? Over the years I must have
wasted a hundred, two hundred
thousand. If I had money in my hand, I
knew I would gamble. I can put my
homeless problem solely down to my
addiction, to my problems”
Paul, now fifty, is Govan born and bred. He
worked for the Council after leaving school and
since then he has worked on and off in the
After his father died his mother moved back to
County Antrim and Paul went over to Northern
Island in ’95 to be with her.
In Northern Ireland, he was supposed to be helping
his mother out but, still gambling -
“I dragged her down. She had put a roof over my
head but instead of me supporting her she was
As his mum’s health ran down she moved into
supported accommodation back in Glasgow.
“I held onto the house for a while but lost it in 2015
because of debt and not paying the rent. It was the
family house we all grew up in, so that was that, all
the memories gone.”
Paul ended up at his sister’s house in Ayr “on his
knees” after a last gambling spree. Despite knowing
his history, she took him in and took him to Gamblers
That was when Seascape became involved with Paul. The
Council initially placed Paul in hostel accommodation –
“It was horrible, not fit for purpose in my opinion”.
Seascape helped him to get into a permanent
accommodation with South Ayrshire Council. “Seascape
were terrific, they helped with getting benefits sorted and
found a flat that was homely”.
Seascape also allocated a Support Worker to follow-up
with Paul. “I’m not sure what I would have done without
that. Family are great, but sometimes there is stuff you
don’t want to discuss with family. It was great to just have
someone to talk to.”
Paul now looks forward to a future. “I need to get back
working and earning. I don’t like just being on the sick
with depression. Then someone at Seascape mentioned
volunteering for ‘Touch Base’ (Seascape’s telephone
follow-up service), I thought that I could do that.”