Strictly Come Dancing star Neil Jones has revealed that he was once forced to sleep on the streets. The 38-year-old star detailed his experience on Instagram, as he urged fans to help support a youth homelessness charity, DePaul, which has been hit hard by COVID-19. He wrote: "Not many people know but as a teen I found myself at one point sleeping on the streets for a short period but because of a charity like DePaul I was able to find a place to stay. DePaul provide emergency and longer-term accommodation and ongoing support with mental and physical health, employment and more. The pandemic has put many of @depaul_uk _uk service is under strain so to support them I’m taking part in their #sleepbedless campaign.
Neil Jones has revealed he was homeless for a short period as a teenager
"Here is how you can help. 1. Sleep somewhere other than your bed (floor, garden, balcony) for one night. 2. Donate £5 to @dupaul_uk. 3. Nominate 3 friends to do the same." Neil then went on to tag his nominees – ex-wife Katya Jones, fellow dancer Oti Mabuse and Greatest Dancer winners Michael and Jowita.
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Neil's hard-hitting post really resonated with fans. "What a kind and inspiring thing to do Neil," one wrote. "I am really glad your own experience was not long lasting and that you got to where you are today xx." A second added: "Have already given my donation and gonna sleep downstairs on the living room floor tonight. Neil you are an inspiration to the world and have the biggest heart ever."
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Neil and Katya have remained close since the end of their marriage in 2019, and continue to share custody of their beloved dog, Crumbles. During a live chat with Strictly Come Dancing co-star Amy Dowden on HELLO!'s Instagram page on Monday, Katya revealed that Neil had always had a theory about being a dog owner. "Neil always said if you have a dog it puts two years off having a baby," she said. Amy – who is engaged to fiancé Ben Jones – then shared her thoughts on having children. "I would love a family but I don't want to give up dancing just yet," she said, to which Katya agreed.