It's time to end youth homelessness in the UK. Help us create better futures.
118 following25 posts3607 followers
It's time to end youth homelessness in the UK. Help us create better futures.
118 following25 posts3607 followers
When Josh was 18 a breakdown in relationship with his mum meant he couldn’t stay at home. He moved in with his girlfriend and, having always been fascinated with engineering, Josh started an aerospace engineering diploma. After a year, they split up and Josh had no other option but to move back in with his mum. On Christmas Day, Josh was admitted to hospital in chronic pain. He was diagnosed with sciatica which shut down his bowel and caused searing pain in his back and legs. The night before Josh was admitted to hospital there had been an argument at home. A family member came to the hospital to visit Josh and told him that he couldn’t go home. He’s never been back. When Josh was discharged from hospital he came to Centrepoint in Manchester where he met his keyworker, Nadeem. Nadeem’s concern was a comfort to Josh because for the first time it showed someone cared. Josh was placed into temporary accommodation whilst a room was found for him in a hostel, but Josh didn’t want to stay there. Reluctant to ask his friends and family for help he ended up sleeping rough. ‘I just had some clothes, my phone and my medication. I slept on a park bench. I would set my alarm, get up at the crack of dawn, and just keep moving during the day. I had friends I could borrow money from, so I could get food, I had access to a gym if I needed to freshen up. It was January so it was freezing cold. I hadn’t got it into my head that I was homeless. I hadn’t told anyone about it. I knew that opening my mouth would open mean explaining what was going on at home, and it was just too much headache. Sometimes I’d rather just grit my teeth and struggle. When my friends found out they went ballistic, they weren’t happy with me. So I crashed at theirs for a few nights’, Josh recalled. When Josh got a call telling him he had a room he was relived and motivated to take every opportunity Centrepoint offered him to improve his future. Today, Josh lives independently and is looking forward to pursuing his engineering dreams. Josh regularly speaks at Centrepoint events and wants to develop his own project to help homeless people.
Our fourth Centrepoint Award winner is Tamara who won the 'Personal Development Award'. We hope you'll join us in congratulating Tamara on her outstanding achievement. At 35 weeks pregnant, Tamara became homeless. Her mum kicked her out due to a breakdown of her mental health. When time came for Tamara to have her baby she was extremely sleep deprived. She was in labour for over 100 hours but eventually gave birth to her son. After a few days in hospital, Tamara was discharged. For three months she was sofa surfing with her new-born son. She moved from house to house, sofa to sofa. During this time her mental health deteriorated even further and she was diagnosed with post-natal depression by her health visitor. When Tamara visited the hospital to seek help for her depression she was admitted to a psychiatric unit, without her son. Tamara was reunited with her son after 3 months and decided to move to Sunderland to be closer to her dad. When Tamara arrived in Sunderland her health visitor told her about a young mums unit that may be able to help. Two weeks later Tamara came to Centrepoint. Here, Tamara received support for her and her baby, she was helped with budgeting, her mental health and finding a place of her own to live. Today, Tamara has her own two-bedroom flat and a community of friends and support staff to lean on. Her son is now two years old and thriving in his new home and routine. “It’s a lot easier having a network of people around me. If I get stressed out I can go and talk to someone who knows exactly what I’m talking about and their kids are probably doing exactly the same. We can actually sit down and chill, have a cup of coffee. We just talk about mum stuff – none of my other friends have kids. Having other mums to talk to just makes it all a lot easier.” #CPatthePalace
Our third Centrepoint Awards 2018 winner is Claudette who won the 'Enterprise' award. Claudette has won the Enterprise award for her amazing achievements in her career. We hope you'll join us in congratulating Claudette on her outstanding achievement. Read Claudette's story below. Claudette left home when she was 17, growing up Claudette lived at home with her mother and younger brother. Claudette’s mother was an alcoholic, so she had to help take care of her little brother. When she left home at 17, she moved in to her first hostel. She said: “It was dreadful but it was a roof over my head.” Claudette stayed at the hostel for two years, during which she fell pregnant. It was at this time that she first moved to Centrepoint’s mother and baby unit. Since coming to Centrepoint Claudette has gained many opportunities and has really turned her life around. She has excelled in education and gained valuable work experience through our bursary scheme. Claudette took part in Centrepoint’s Workwise programme, which helps prepare young people for employment by teaching skills such as interview technique, how to find work and write an effective CV. Having completed the course, she secured a job with a major law firm. Today Claudette has a degree in Human Resources and now works in the NHS. #CPatthePalace #centrepoint #youthhomelessness #homeless #successstory #amazingwoman #inspirationalwoman #lifestory #beautifulstory #betterfuture
Meet Josh, one of our Centrepoint Award 2018 Winners who won the 'Education' award for his amazing success in school, college and now, university. We hope you'll join us in congratulating Josh on his outstanding achievement. Read his story below. Josh moved to the North East when he was 6 with his mum in order to be closer to their family. Aged 12 Josh was placed with a foster family due to his mum’s mental health condition. After 6 months Social Services allowed Josh to be returned into his mums care however this was not successful and Joshua was again placed with his foster family. Throughout this time Josh struggled in school, having to adapt to his new surroundings with his foster family and losing his father just a year prior to taking his GCSEs. Even with the pressures of family life, Josh passed all of his GCSEs and continued on to achieve a triple distinction in his level 3 BTEC. During his studies at college Josh’s grandfather passed away, Josh was diagnosed with depression. Just before Josh’s 18th Birthday he left his foster family and moved into supported lodgings. Josh struggled with this placement and could not settle. It was then that Josh came to Centrepoint. “To be honest with you, I don’t know what would have happened to me if I hadn’t had Centrepoint. Pretty much as soon as I walked in the door I was like, yeah, I’m living here. Knowing I had support if I needed it, but being able to do my own thing was one of the main reasons I liked Centrepoint. It allowed me to settle down and get to college and get on and do what I want to do.” Last September, Josh left Centrepoint to study Applied Science and Exercise Sciences at his first choice university having secured an unconditional offer. His dream is to one day work with top athletes and help them towards great success. #CPatthePalace #Centrepoint #youthhomelessness #homeless #successstory #amazingpeople #inspirationalman #lifestory #soproud
‘Living in the hostel taught me a lot, especially about the importance of nobody being viewed like they’re nothing.’ Meet Anna, who recently told her story of homelessness to ASOS after a styling session and photo shoot: I started photography when I was 12. They had a film competition at school and I entered, staying behind on the computers in the art block. Around the same age I started having difficulties with my mental health – initially severe anxiety, which stopped me from going to school. I visited different professionals, but nothing helped and it became worse. I began to self-harm, which carried on throughout my teens. On the one hand I’d found creativity through my film work, but on the other hand I was hiding behind the camera. I found recovery at 17 years old, when I was on the verge of killing myself. Although I love my family dearly, my mental health, emotional wellbeing and recovery had to come first. I knew in order to keep my recovery going, I needed to leave home. I was put in an emergency hostel – it wasn’t good, but luckily I was only there for a few days. By chance I met someone who put me in touch with Centrepoint. I had the interview in April 2016 and moved into the hostel the next day. Centrepoint hostels are important because they don’t just put you in a room, they create an environment where you feel like you can make the next step in life. When you come in, you sign up saying you’ll engage in employment, training or college. There are workshops, you can do maths or English to college standard and get help finding jobs and writing CVs. I moved out of the hostel in May. A certain number of accommodation spaces come up at the housing association that the hostel rents from, and I was put forward for one. It provides motivation to keep your flat tidy and your rent up to date, but it’s difficult because you leave behind people who are equally deserving of their own place. It’s something I’m hugely grateful for but also something everyone’s deserving of.
Aged 18, Karmina’s mum could no longer look after her due to health issues and kicked her out. As the youngest of four siblings, Karmina had limited options of where she could go. She considered living with her dad, but her relationship with him was difficult and her elder sister and nephew also needed somewhere to live so instead, Karmina stayed with a friend. Suffering with her health, staying with a friend was challenging. Karmina felt like everyone around her was tired of trying to help her. “I feel like people get tired of helping me because it’s so complex. They get to the point where they can’t be bothered.” When Karmina came to Centrepoint she was given a warm, safe room and support for her health, both physical and mental. “Since I’ve been at Centrepoint, the staff have helped me realise I can still do everything I just need to pace myself.” Currently training in maths and IT, Karmina hopes to go to college to become a youth worker. “I want to become a youth worker, like probation work. I’d like to work with young offenders who are like 16-25. I wanna do something that’s helping the community. I’m also trying to get my driver’s license. I’ve been trying to get it since I was 17. I would encourage anyone who comes to Centrepoint to try and better themselves and make the most of the working and education opportunities Centrepoint give us."
At just 15, Tori's mum beat her so hard she ended up in hospital. Her parent's mental health had broken down so much, she physically abused the one person she should have been protecting. Tori admits she thought she was going to die that night. She managed to get out of the house and called her own ambulance from a pay phone. Eventually, Tori found Centrepoint, which gave her a safe place to call home and the support to be independent. She grabbed the opportunity with both hands and is now one of the most adventurous and courageous people we've ever known. She is now living a life without fear and is an inspiration.
Lucy is the youngest of three siblings. Her mother was an alcoholic and her step-father used to fly into rages and punch them both. Growing up, Lucy often went hungry for days on end, with no food for her anywhere in the house. As her mother's alcoholism got worse, the state of the house deteriorated rapidly. Eventually, Lucy was trying to do her homework surrounded by squalor, alcohol and the threat of violence. Some nights it was easier not to go home. She started sleeping on floors of friends. Then friends of friends... then with pimps and drug dealers. She was just 17. Thankfully, Lucy was referred to Centrepoint, where she not only had a warm, safe room but also regular support with a key worker she could trust. These regular sessions helped Lucy with her reading and writing - and helped her feel more confident. She now has a CV and is busy filling out job application forms.
"As a Centrepoint resident from the North East, who is moving on from Centrepoint in a few days time, I just wanted to say that if it wasn't for Centrepoint, I wouldn't be where I am today - not even close! I'm pursuing dreams and turning them into reality thanks to the work of the key workers I've had (thanks for all of the laughs on the residential guys! ). With that, I'll give a smile and say it again - without the support Centrepoint has given me, my dreams would not be turning into realities as we speak!"
John had a troubled and unstable childhood. His father suffered with mental illness and his mother was abusive - his earliest memory is of her kicking him in the stomach. When he was just 15 years old, he was regularly sleeping rough on benches or in a derelict flat. He was surrounded by danger, but it was still better than suffering violence at home. Since coming to Centrepoint, he's been able to work through those issues with the support of our counsellors. Having a safe room has meant he can focus again and get back into education. His biggest ambition is to become International Communication and Security Analyst, so he is studying hard to gain A levels in Economics, Philosophy and Politics.
Kyle moved into Centrepoint in Bradford after constant rows at home became too much. He came to Centrepoint, where, as well as a safe place to live, he had the support of a counsellor. ‘We never saw eye-to-eye, we were always falling out. We had a massive argument so I stayed at a friend’s until the council pointed me to Centrepoint.’ Relationship breakdowns like the one Kyle went through are the most common reason why young people become homeless. ‘Some think that young people are attention seekers, but they don’t understand that they’ve got nowhere to go.’ With help to find his feet, he’s repaired the relationship with his parents, and is making plans for the future.
Sarah freely admits that as a teenager she was in 'self-destruct mode’ – homeless, self-harming and having to fend for herself with no support. You’d never know it now. Today, just a few years on, she’s a mature and responsible twenty-year-old starting college, with dreams of a career, a family and a home of her own. Before Sarah came to Centrepoint, she was really struggling. Raised by parents who both had serious mental health issues, her home life growing up was turbulent and unstable. Rows. Fear. Confusion. A hard place for a young girl. Finally, when she was in her teens, Sarah’s mum gave her an ultimatum – she had just 48 hours to get out of the house. She felt complete panic, and had no idea where to go. In her desperation, Sarah moved down to London on the strength of a rather sketchy job offer. As she moved to the capital, she felt a lot of uncertainty. Would the job be genuine? Where was she going to live? In the end, the job fell through. Determined not to return to her chaotic home, Sarah bounced around from house to house. But eventually she ran out of options. She had nowhere left to turn. Vulnerable young people like Sarah come to our nation’s cities all year round, hoping to make their way in the world. All too often their dreams crumble – and when they do, Centrepoint must be there for them.
At just 15 years old the breakdown of Nadia’s family meant she found herself with no choice but to stay with her drug addicted ex-boyfriend. Nadia was surrounded by dangers and constant threats to her safety. She often spent long nights in the park trying to escape her ex-boyfriend’s drunken father. Thankfully, Nadia was referred to Centrepoint giving her a safe place to live and rebuild her life. Today Nadia is continuing to rebuild her life and reconnect with her family. She's training to be a hairdresser and has a place of her own. She has a future to look forward to. #centrepoint #youthhomelessness #homeless #charity #lifestories #successstories #amazingpeople #inspirationalwords
Aged 7, Georges was sent to live with his Auntie in Cameroon. When he turned 14 he came back to the UK to live with his mum where he thought everything was going to change and his life was going to be better. However, his relationship with his mum was difficult and after a short while it brown down completely. ‘From the first day I put my foot into her house she started telling me there was certain things I needed to do. She kept shouting at me, screaming at me, mentally abusing me. She told me things like, “If you don’t do this for me I’m going to send you back to Cameroon or France. You’re going to go back there and not live with me.” She was trying to frighten me because she wanted me to do stuff for her.’ When Georges turned 15, things became unbearable. His mum often left Georges in charge of looking after his younger brother whilst she travelled. When she would come back she wouldn’t let Georges go out do the things normal teenagers do. ‘I told her I was going to stay at a friend’s house and she said, “If you go to your friends I want you to leave your keys and get out of my house.” When I came home from the sleepover she was really angry and started screaming and shouting at me. She physically abused me, punching and beating me. She said I had to get out of her house.' Georges had no choice but to leave. For a while, Georges stayed with his girlfriend’s family whilst they figured out where he could go, luckily he found Centrepoint. Georges was 17 when he came to Centrepoint. He was given a warm, safe room and offered counselling sessions to help him with his mental and physical health. Georges also joined Centrepoint Parliament which he said is ‘a good way to challenge yourself and try to have some new experiences. Being in Centrepoint Parliament has helped me to do other things, focus on my future and helped me understand that I have to stand up for what I believe in and what I think is true.’ Today, Georges is studying mechanical engineering at college and hopes to put his qualifications into use and one day own a customising garage (and drive a Lamborghini ).
'Before I came to Centrepoint, I had no self-esteem, I had no security, and my future was uncertain. The most significant thing that happened to me whilst I was at Centrepoint was the click in my brain that went from, "you are worthless" to "you are equal".' Samia could have lost hope after it became unsafe to stay at home, but with Centrepoint's help Samia has achieved so much. Read her story here: https://centrepoint.org.uk/samia
Aged 5, Zinnia’s mum kicked her and her dad out. Aged nine, Zinnia was placed into foster care. After the birth of her child, Zinnia became homeless. Today, Zinnia has her own flat and her dream job. Read Zinnia's full story here: centrepoint.org.uk/zinnia #centrepoint #youthhomelessness #charity
Kyle was just 13 when he first had to sleep rough. Bullying at school completely had undermined his confidence, and he was experiencing problems with his mental health. Kyle and his parents were arguing every day - they didn't understand the support he needed. Eventually they told him to leave. ‘I was 13 years old and it was a cold October night, I had nowhere to go, no friends that I could go to, so I was out on the streets. I was scared. I did not know what to do or where to go so I decided to go and sleep in the park near to my home. It was so cold. I tried to sleep but I couldn’t.' These days, things are different. Kyle came to Centrepoint in Sunderland, here the security and support he received helped him rebuild his relationship with his parents. He's working to support other young people in Sunderland who are at risk of becoming homeless through our youth educators programme, and he wants to get a job in mental health support. Read more of Kyle's story here: https://centrepoint.org.uk/kyle