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12 June 2023


My name is Marek, and I am originally from Poland. When I came to the UK, I spoke very little English, which was a major barrier to me accessing any kind of help.

I had been sleeping rough in the woods next to local rugby fields when I learned about the Ferry Project. I went there and was given a warm bed and a safe place to sleep, but most importantly of all the staff were friendly and spoke to me in Polish so I could explain the problems I was facing.

Although I have full settled status in the UK, I have no passport and didn’t know I was entitled to benefits. I have also struggled a lot with anxiety and depression, and have had alcohol dependency issues which led to me being in and out of hospital a lot. Being able to speak to the staff in my own language meant I was finally able to communicate all this and receive help for it. The Ferry Project supported me with GP appointments and overcoming language barriers, allowing me to get medication for my depression and anxiety. They also helped me access benefits and got me on an ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) course which taught me to speak basic English. I really enjoy learning and look forward to starting the next course so I can improve.

I stayed in the temporary accommodation for a while, but was soon offered a place in one of the Ferry Project’s modular homes, which I accepted.

They continued to support me in my move, helping me to set up direct debits for things like council tax, and to budget and plan food so that I could move to my own flat and live more independently.

I had great support workers and when I mentioned my love of music and how I used it to cope with my depression, they managed to find me an acoustic guitar to play from the donations given to the Ferry Project.

Nowadays, I continue to live in the modular housing and I am learning to budget well. I also now have a passport and am being supported in finding employment, as I would very much like to get back into work. Thanks to the help the Ferry Project found me, my mental health has improved and I have had no further hospital visits due to alcohol issues.

Finally, I enjoy playing my guitar for the other tenants in the modular housing in the evenings or at weekend barbecues, and have saved enough to buy myself an electric guitar.

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