JAYSON Marc-Frater knows what it’s like to sleep rough on the freezing streets.

Homeless for 28 years, the 40-year-old has moved around Britain trying to find the support needed for him settle down.

But thanks to the help of Oxford’s Gatehouse, Mr Marc-Frater has ditched drugs and alcohol and is now on the verge of moving into his own home.

Last night he appealed for people in the city to step forward and help the homeless centre find new premises.

Earlier this month, the Oxford Mail revealed the Gatehouse will have to leave its building in St Michael’s Street because Oxford City Council needs to find a more profitable way to use it.

Mr Marc-Frater said: “The Gatehouse has got me back on my feet.

“I have been using the service on and off for eight years now and it has always been there for me.

“It gave me food, clothes and access to the Internet, which has helped me find volunteer work around Oxford.

“I owe so much to everybody here and it is so important that new premises are found soon so more homeless people can get support.”

Since 1991 the charity has paid a low rent for the building and currently helps between 80 and 100 people a day. It offers homeless people food and shelter, as well as health and employment help.

The council made the decision after other tenants left the building, leaving it “seriously under-occupied”.

Mr Marc-Frater, who is originally from Plymouth, said he quit drugs 18 months ago and hasn’t touched alcohol for 15 years.

He said: “The Gatehouse is for people who don’t have a connection in Oxford.

“Here people can find their feet and get so much support to help them move forward with their lives.

“Everybody who walks through the door appreciates the help they have received.

“That’s why I want to work here to give a little back and perhaps act as a role model to what can be achieved.”

Project director Andrew Smith said there have already been a couple of offers.

He said: “We are really trying to explore as many avenues as possible.

“We are looking at the move as an opportunity. While we’re unlikely to find such a good location, it would be great if our new venue had better disabled access.

“If anybody could help us with our search, it would be great to hear from them.”

  • If you can help, call 07773 333728 or visit oxfordgatehouse.org