A sofa-surfing community figure who spent years off-the-grid after not having a bank account or a National Insurance number was given a permanent home.

Gardener Lord Mark Franklin has not had a permanent home or a place to call his own over the years and has spent his life crashing at different homes.

Trying to turn his life around, his initial application for a home with Watford Community Housing was rejected as he had no National Insurance number, photo ID or a bank account.

Eventually the housing association worked with the sofa-surfer to ensure he obtained the required documents and even helped him gain Universal Credit payments and a bus pass.

The former Watford Lions zone chairman said: “A doctor had recently signed me off work and suggested ground or first floor accommodation due to mobility issues, Gillian and the Watford Community Housing team were absolutely superb, an incredibly kind bunch that took a lot of weight off my shoulders and even helped me with financial aid, as well as finding suitable housing.”

He has now been housed in a Leavesden flat.

He continued: “The flat itself is brilliant, my friends have all rallied round me at a time of uncertainty and I’ve met many of my fellow residents, we even played Bingo together last night and I called the numbers!

“I wanted to say thank you to One Vision as well, who have been hugely generous and given me food parcels for the past few months.”

Lynn Wheeler, senior scheme manager at the housing association, explained the team is “committed” to supporting people in Watford.