A KIND-hearted youngster has spoken out about the pain which led him to volunteer with Burton’s YMCA, in the hope it will encourage others to offer support to the organisation.
Miguel Latham-Bailey, 12, was just 10 when he began to offer his time to the charity and became the youngest person ever to take part in the annual YMCA Sleep Out.
Three years on, he is a keen fund-raiser for the organisation, and incredibly passionate about helping the homeless – but his desire to get involved has come from a painful past.
When Miguel was just nine years of age, he thought about committing suicide.
Domestic abuse within his family forced him to such a state of depression that he could see no way out, and told his mum Denise that he wanted to kill himself.
It was only after he started regularly attending St Mark’s Church in Winshill that he began to see light at the end of the tunnel.
“I had been through a lot,” he told the Mail, “but I started going to the church and that raised my spirits. I started thinking about all the people who go without, and when I heard about the Sleep Out I decided to start raising money.
“I don’t like seeing people going without. We have so much, and homeless people have nothing by comparison.”
Miguel’s passion has rubbed off on his mum, who told the Mail she was ‘very proud’ of what her son has done.
“With the help of the church and the YMCA he has found a focus, and that’s why he does it. He knows how low people can get.
“To see all he has done is brilliant, because at one stage I could not leave him on his own.
“Miguel was lucky, as he had the church, but if people are feeling as low as he did and they have nowhere to go, I don’t know what would happen.”
The pair, who live in Winshill, are among those fighting a cut in funding for the YMCA, which is one of the organisations which could be affected by a reduction in Staffordshire County Council’s Supporting People budget.
The organisation was facing losing up to 50 per cent of its budget.