Narrow paths run between tiny front gardens, and I watch my feet as I pick my way through broken glass and dog excrement. There are bags of rubbish, old carpets and broken plastic toys in the front of the houses, along with plastic planters, overgrown with weeds.

Sid’s house has a blue front door and his garden is tidy. He is a small man in a hand-knitted jumper with shoes that are clean and shiny. I introduce myself and he leads me into his living room. There is no carpet on the floor, little furniture, and the interior is gloomy. The skirting boards have been nailed with planks to keep out the rats. At first, I think the walls near the windows have been painted black but then I realise this is damp. Floor-to-ceiling damp. The room is tidy and clean but barren and depressing, chilly and cold.

Sid speaks proudly of his life at sea, recalling his crewmates and the adventures they had. Now he tells me that he does not see his family and is heartbreakingly lonely. His voice wavers and his eyes fill with tears. He tenses his shoulders and tightens his hands.

My mind is whirring, thinking of how we might help. I tell Sid that we can apply for a flat at Trinity House. He will be comfortable and well looked after there. We can buy him a washing machine – he currently washes his clothes by hand in the bath. We can make sure that he is getting the benefits that he is entitled to and offer him ongoing pastoral support. It is hard not to feel emotional myself as I reassure him that we will help. Sid looks brighter when I leave, and I give him a copy of our Network magazine.

One hour of Sally’s time has given Sid fresh hope for his future. Only your support can make that hope a reality. Please donate today. Thank you.