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Dad gets on his bike for Derventio Housing Trust after it helped him get back on track

Dad gets on his bike for Derventio Housing Trust after it helped him get back on track

A dad who found himself in need of support as he struggled with debt is preparing to take on an epic bike ride to thank those who helped him get back on his feet. 

Joe Hodgkins turned to Derventio Housing Trust back in 2019 when he struggled to find a place that he could call his own as a base while he got his life back on track. 

Now he is planning to thank those who helped him with a mammoth 950-mile bike ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats to raise money for the organisation as it continues its work to provide housing and support for those facing homelessness. 

The 28-year-old was living in Stafford at the time when he asked for the help that he desperately needed and with the help of the trust he was back on his feet within five months. 

He said:

“It was nothing in particular that had happened but it was the culmination of things. I was in quite a bit of debt and I didn’t know what I was doing in life.  

“I didn’t have a career. I ended up just being in debt with no money. I found it hard being at my mum and dad’s and nothing seemed to work. 

“I needed my independence and to start from scratch. I found myself couch surfing and with no fixed home.” 

Joe, who now lives in Newcastle under Lyme, went to the council to ask for help with a house so he would have a base where he could work on getting a job and out of debt. 

The council put him in touch with Derventio Housing Trust who found him a place to live.  

The trust provides nearly 700 bed spaces of accommodation in five counties of the UK – including Derbyshire and Staffordshire - for people who have recently been homeless or at risk of it.

Joe stayed in the property for around five months and it was in that time that he met his partner and they then moved into a new home together. 

He said:

“It just helped me as I had a base, then I started work and met a girl and I moved out. I just remember being in a rubbish place before they helped me. The debt was my biggest stress back then.” 

One person who particularly stuck out to Joe was his housing and support officer Ron Griffiths, who he could not praise enough. 

Joe, dad to two-year-old Poppy, said:

“He would come round once or twice a week and he would ask how I was doing and if there was anything he could help with. He was a good guy and good at his job.” 

Joe now works as a delivery driver, a job that suits him well as he gets the freedom of the open road and being out by himself but also the social side of it when he is back at the base. 

He said:

“The help I got I would not have known about if it was not for the council. The best thing I did was just ask and then I found out about Derventio and got to meet nice people like Ron.” 

Joe has now cleared his debt and says it now feels like he is living in a new world where he can look forward to days out without the anxiety of knowing he owes money. 

He said:

“I would like to thank Derventio for helping me get back on my feet and not worry about housing. I want to thank them for offering me the room which was a platform that I could build everything back up from.” 

Now he is planning the bike ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats, starting from April 15. He expects it to take between 16 and 18 days to complete. 

This will mean he will need to cycle 60 miles a day to complete it but he wanted to take on the challenge for Derventio.  

Joe added:

“It was the first organisation that came to mind when I sat down to brainstorm who to raise money for. I’ve not really been helped by anyone else in the past apart from Derventio. 

“I’ve never been one to shy away from a challenge. I’m quite apprehensive but I think most of that is excitement to be honest! With it being in April I will have light for around 10 hours. I always say it’s a marathon not a sprint.” 

Anyone who wants to support Joe in raising funds for the Derventio Housing Trust can do so by visiting https://localgiving.org/fundraising/LEJOG-by-joe/ 


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