Reuniting Family

See how John reunited with his family

On 24th October 2013, John an 83 year old fragile man arrived at Manchester Airport. He had just flown in from Australia on his own, wanting to come back to the place where he lived and worked many years ago. The Police picked him up in Manchester as he seemed tired and confused and they brought him to Cornerstone to see if we could help John.

Cornerstone found him accommodation not too far from our Cornerstone day centre. We collected him from the hotel on the Monday morning and brought him back to Cornerstone to check on his circumstances. John had spent all his savings on the airfare and had just a few pounds left. He is almost totally deaf, walks with a stick very slowly and seemed to be confused. How he managed to come all the way from Australia is amazing.

We contacted Social Services as they have a care of concern for people that are as he was, a vulnerable, elderly person. I explained to them that John would be sleeping in the local park that night if he didn’t get help. John told me he had a sister in Manchester near Ardwick Green, but, he hadn’t seen her for at least ten years. I decided to go with him and see if we could find where she lived. Sadly, all the house in the area had been demolished and new ones in their place. Nothing seemed familiar to him.

We were on Stockport Road, the area was deserted, then we noticed a woman walking her dog. We  ask her if she knew of John’s sister ‘Olive’ (just in Case).  We had a chat and I told her John was from Australia. She then said ‘I do know a lady called Olive and she has a brother living in Australia’ she described where the lady lived, three streets along the road. Off we went to see if we could find ‘Olive’ I knocked on a door and this person said there was a lady called Olive living in the flat above her. ‘Praise God’ Only thing is the occupant wasn’t around at the time. I promised John we would call later.

When we got back to Cornerstone, I had a phone call from Social Services, concerned for John, we asked them to come to our centre to see him. When they saw John they realised how vulnerable he seemed and after a discussion decided to put him in Emergency Accommodation until they could review Johns situation. At this point John made the Sign of the Cross, and a light came to his face.He was sure he would have been on the street that night. They took John to a home in Gorton, he was so relieved to have a warm bed and good food.

Johns sister had heard about us and came into Cornerstone to ask about him. YES! We had found her. On Monday I took her to see her brother and she told me it was actually twenty years since they last saw each other. The care and attention John is receiving in this home is wonderful. The staff Sue and Amelia are just so kind to him and say he is a lovely special man. Sister and brother reunited, very moving, and they are going to keep in touch from now on. John loves where he is settled and most grateful to all concerned. My question is what would have happened to John had the police not brought him into our centre. We go the extra mile, making sure that a person like John will not be on the street. Without first exploring all the channels that will support a person in their time of need.

Cornerstone is a day centre providing services to adults facing a wide range of social issues including homelessness, poverty, social isolation, poor mental health, drug and alcohol addiction. We operate an open door policy and welcome people from all backgrounds with our aim being to offer support to our clients, improve their prospects and enhance their quality of life.


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