How Richard Chennells turned around his life with help from Benjamin Foundation

Richard Chennells at the Benjamin Foundation's young person's centre in Great Yarmouth. Photo: Benja

Richard Chennells at the Benjamin Foundation's young person's centre in Great Yarmouth. Photo: Benjamin Foundation - Credit: Archant

Six months ago Richard Chennells was at one of the lowest points in his life.

Aged 24, he had already experienced homelessness, had a still-born son and lost his brother.

Meanwhile, his situation at home was becoming increasingly unsafe and he felt he had nowhere to turn.

But that all changed when the Norfolk-based Benjamin Foundation stepped in, offering him support and a safe place to live.

The charity provided him with accommodation and counselling at its Aspire Young Person's Centre in Great Yarmouth.

Now, six months later, Mr Chennells has rebuilt his confidence and has even started working.

'My life was hectic,' he said. 'It was one thing after another. I had no chance to think, let alone deal with all the stuff that was going on. It all got on top of me and I had enough.

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'Now, I'm looking forward to my new job and hopefully, in the near future, my own place too and just moving forward with my life.'

Mr Chennells was referred to the charity by a friend who grew concerned about his wellbeing.

Despite no accommodation being available at the time, staff decided to find him space due to the severity of his situation.

The charity's Aspire Young Person's Centre offers 17 units of accommodation for single homeless people aged 16-25.

Not only was Mr Chennells able to move into a safe environment, he was given counselling over the following six months.

He said: 'I have even completed some courses, which is great, as at my age, I had assumed that education was completely out of reach.

'The Benjamin Foundation offered me security at the time I needed it.'

Chris Neil, centre manager, said around 200 young people have been helped through the charity's service in Great Yarmouth, which opened in 2009.

He said demand was so high, that it was always at 100pc occupancy.

'The centre is massively important,' he said. 'I don't know how they coped before we came along.'

People wishing to support the Benjamin Foundation can take part in its Sleep Out event at the Archant car park on Rouen Road, Norwich, on November 17. Visit: