FROM being homeless on the streets of Leamington to becoming the town’s mayor – Nick Wilkins’ story is an inspiring one.
Twenty years ago he was sofa-surfing and even spent a couple of days sleeping rough on the streets of Leamington following a relationship breakdown.
But the 44-year-old has now become Leamington first ever Green Party mayor and he has been quick to stress he would never be in the position without all the support he received from the community.
A town councillor now for four years, Nick is determined to do all he can to help Leamington’s most vulnerable residents during his year in office.
And he has chosen LWS Night Shelter, which helps the town’s homeless and which he helped set up, as his charity for the year.
Speaking about what made the town that he will represent as its first citizen for the next 12 months special, Nick said: “It’s the people working together to help others. There are so many Leamington charities and community groups – people coming together to put on brilliant events for us all to enjoy or to care for people who need help.”
Of his chosen charity, Nick added: “LWS Night Shelter is there for the homeless and those who often feel ignored to provide a hot meal and company for the vulnerably-housed members of the community in Leamington Spa and the wider area.”
Nick was born in the former Warneford Hospital on Radford Road.
After getting back on his feet following his homeless days, Nick started working as a street cleaner for Warwick District Council, before a spell as a binman, and time as a gravedigger.
The married dad, who has two daughters and a step-daughter, also has a long history of volunteering in the town.
He has run Sunday league football teams and volunteered for the Salvation Army, the SYDNI centre and currently sits on the St Patrick’s school PTA.
He also runs an annual Suicide Awareness event – following the death of his own father six years ago – to help people remember loved ones through sharing music and memories.
As a Green Party councillor Nick is also keen to highlight the environment.
“I’m planning to visit all 26 parks in Leamington in one weekend from Roxborough Crofts play area near Cubbington in the north to Redland Rec near Asda in the south to highlight the importance and variety of our wonderful green spaces.”
Following the remarkable turnaround in his life, Nick is looking forward to his time as mayor.
“I’m deeply honoured to have been elected to serve a town with so many fantastic people and in the year ahead I will be shining a light on as many of those different activities as possible.”