Ill be living in my car on Christmas Day and I cry every night

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    A “gutted” dad has told how he expects to spend Christmas Day alone in his car because he has nowhere else to go.

    Since his relationship broke down just over 10 weeks ago, 39-year-old Shane Blackwell has been living in his car in bitterly cold conditions.

    The former chef, who once had a decent job earning quite a bit of money, says he doesn't know where he will go from here.

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    Ideally, he says, Shane would be spending Christmas Day with his five-year-old son, but he regretfully admits that it's not going to happen this year.

    Instead, while millions of families are tucking into turkeys, pulling crackers and sharing jokes with loved ones, he'll be parked up at the side of the road or in a car park grateful for any food he can get his hands on.

    Shane, originally from London but now based in the West Midlands, suffers with PTSD and had to give up work. He hasn't got many connections in this area, so found himself living in his car.

    Besides, he says, he doesn't want to be a burden on people having to put him up over Christmas and finds it difficult to accept help. He can't actually lie flat in his small car but somehow he continues to make it through each night.

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    Shane said: "It's a bit horrible. I can't lie down in it. If I was to sleep I'd be sitting up but I do struggle to sleep quite a lot. I've been getting sleeping tablets but they've not really been helping."

    It means the dad-of-one was in his car during the recent Arctic cold snap which brought sub-zero temperatures.

    Shane added: "I've managed to survive in -7ºC, which is the coldest it's been. I'm still okay, I'm not ill which is surprising. I've kept the car running as much as possible but I don't know how much longer I can do it. I'm gonna be there on Christmas, there's no choice about it.

    "I'm gutted. I'm not gonna be a man about it. I cry every night. This Christmas is gonna be really weird. Normally I would have my son but because of the situation I can't have him so it's gonna be a really rubbish day."

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    So where does Shane go from here? It's not a question he really knows the answer to, but he's hopeful something will change soon.

    He's been getting help from Salma Food Bank in Smethwick so he at least has something to eat.

    Shane added: "I'm speaking to the council, trying to get some benefits.

    "I don't get any benefits and if I do it's not gonna be until January 18. I'm not classed as a priority, no matter what council I go to. When I got some money from work I spent it on some bits for the car and putting fuel in and that's all I could afford.

    "I've just signed up for Universal Credit. I've got friends who want to help me but I'm too proud of myself.

    "They have families, I don't want to be part of them thinking 'oh my god, we've got to have him here' and all of that, even though they probably wouldn't think that. But that's my way of thinking.

    "I've got my space in my car and that's how it'll be until I can get some help".


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