A MAN who battled homelessness for ten years has landed a job with a housing charity.

Paul Bradford, 40, has earned a part-time workshop role with a joinery venture that trains and employs residents of the Cornerstone Supported Housing and Counselling charity.

The 40-year-old has been living and volunteering with the charity, which is based in Willington, County Durham, for more than two years.

He joins a list of 20 people who have gained paid roles with Cornerstone over the past six years – seven of whom were residents and ten volunteers of the charity before their employment.

Cornerstone, which also works with children who do not attend mainstream school to prevent homelessness from occurring in the future, operates from its workshop and training centre at 12 Brockwell Court at Low Willington Industrial Estate.

The charity’s founder, Steve Vasey, said: “We are all delighted for Paul. He has worked incredibly hard and overcome some serious obstacles to get to this point.

“The standard of his work is excellent and shows we should never write people off. It’s never easy to change the habits of a lifetime but when someone does it, we should all be celebrating.”

Mr Bradford joined Cornerstone as part of the charity’s prison transition programme which supports offenders who have overcome drug addictions in prison and to help them on release.

Mr Bradford, who still manages mental and physical health issues to maintain his role, said: “Cornerstone staff met with me prior to release and made me feel more at ease.

“There’s normally nothing on release from prison. No home to go to, no money. That’s frightening and a danger to your recovery.

“Everything at this charity is geared up for you to understand why you are there, what you have to offer and why you are valuable.

“It took me a long time to genuinely build the trust between myself and the charity.

“I had slips and tough times – even with their support – but eventually we got here. I’m really proud to be part of this and I want to give as much back as I can.”

Mr Vasey added: “It's not just about the furniture here. Whether you buy our furniture or join us from being street homeless you will recognise the solid, lasting quality within all areas of Cornerstone that make a genuine difference in people’s lives.

"Customers of Cornerstone, its clients and volunteers included, have the same starting point: their idea of a better quality of life.

“They are all building trust in this idea and in Cornerstone’s ability to help them deliver a solid quality result that lasts.

“The real product we are selling is that trust that a life can be better – whether that’s a great new piece of furniture, a community project, or someone recovering from complex traumas.

“Whatever result we are trying to produce, we use the same criteria: gather the highest quality materials available, acquire the highest level of skills and produce the highest quality result.”

  • To find out more visit cornerstone-north.org, call 01388-747892, email info@cornerstone-north.org or call into the workshop.