Stewart Aubert has a history of drug use and crime which saw him spend time in prison. But he is now helping others as a Support Worker at Plymouth Temporary Accommodation and Outreach Service.

Stewart explains: “I have had substance misuse problems for the majority of my adult life and was addicted to heroin and crack cocaine for a long time. This led me to crime, prison and homelessness and the need to access various mental health services.

“After another set of disastrous circumstances I found myself at a turning point and was forced to try and get clean from drugs. But I continued to relapse and take drugs daily.

People had had enough of me and my problems and finally I started to see that they were really trying to help me.

“I started attending 12 step meetings which I didn’t like or think could help me. I had a bad attitude and was used to facing fear with violence as this I thought showed I wasn’t afraid. But in truth I was scared and just didn’t want to admit it.

“I would leave my meetings and go and use drugs. Then I would go back the following week as I didn’t really have anywhere else to go.

“People had had enough of me and my problems and finally I started to see that they were really trying to help me.

“Some said they were once as hopeless as I was but had now found a new way to live.

“I wanted anything other than what I had as my life was a mess. So I started engaging and working the 12 steps, which radicalized my perception of life and the world around me.

“As time went on I even started to help others into recovery and show them what had worked for me.

“I picked up my tools as a painter and decorator again and returned to my previous career.

“Then one day I was sitting on a paint can at work and I started to think of how unrewarding this job had become and how helping people had always been something that had deeply touched me from a very young age.

“My mind raced back to a time when as a four or five year-old boy I noticed another child in a wheelchair in the park where I was playing.

“I wanted the child to enjoy the park as I was, so I started speaking to him and asked if he wanted to play with me. I remember feeling a deep sense of emotion and feeling.

“It was then that I started to think that I could do more than ‘colour in’ buildings.

“This thought grew and grew and I started to access courses, speak to people and apply for jobs.

“Eventually I got two, bank work positions in homeless hostels. These positions then turned into job offers and I became a full time support worker in temporary accommodation.”

Stewart now works with the young and old, supporting them through a wide range of complex issues.

He said: “Often my customers don’t have the ability to attend to their own affairs and are neglected by services and the world around them. I feel driven to ensure they are getting the best level of care and support available to them, so they can enjoy a full and fulfilling life.

“I continue to go to 12 step meetings and have been clean from drugs and alcohol for 14 years.

“I am also married and have four children.

“I help lots of drug addicts in my personal life and have been involved in starting a 12 step fellowship for drug addicts which has spread across the country.

“I feel deeply rewarded and try to spread my enthusiasm and sense of commitment to others as much as possible.”

  • £5 can provide a bus fare for a day to access activities and appointments
  • £60 can provide a new outfit for a person coming to us from the street with no clothing other than what they come in wearing.
  • £1,000 keeps a Rough Sleeper in emergency accommodation for a month
  • £5,000 would buy 60 starter packs for customers moving into a new home, which would include, kitchen starter set, dinner set, Bathroom towel set, duvet, pillows, full bedding set
  • £10,000 would currently cover the interest cost on a private finance loan of around £333,000 that could fund the building of around three new homes