Hearing the individual stories of change is the best way to find out about how our work makes a difference. Many service users come to our projects in times of real difficulty: whether fleeing from situations of abuse; struggling with substance misuse and poor mental health; or currently experiencing homelessness.
Read these stories to find out about the different ways our projects have helped people to feel included and that they belong to a community, feel positive about the future by creating opportunities and aspiration, and have journeyed with people along the way. These stories of change show a snapshot of the support we've offered and how that has affected our service users.
All names in the stories have been changed to ensure anonymity.
Atticus lived at the Foyer, an OAH project in Croydon, for just over one year. He had just turned 18 when he moved in.
Before moving in to the Foyer Atticus had been studying at College. He stopped going after his father left and his relationship with his mum deteriorated. He was 'angry and manic', after quitting college he was around the house too much which led to arguments and his mum asked him to leave. A friend suggested he go to the council , which he did. After living in a B&B he was referred to the Foyer.
Once at the Foyer he started a new college, studying dance. He remained in college during his time at the Foyer. He felt his biggest achievements from his time with us were;
- Learning tolerance of and respect for others
- Gaining friendships, social skills and interpersonal skills
- Gaining organisational skills
- Being able to deal with challenges including looking for work and purchasing and cooking food for himself.
He said " staff told me if you're good here we can find you somewhere else to live... it motivated me." When he was ready our staff moved him into his own council flat.
He said the flat was in a real mess when he moved in and needed serious redecoration. It didn't seem like a big problem because he said "I'd learnt to cope with things while at the Foyer.. and I knew it wouldn't be forever, I just had to push though and work harder."
Atticus has been in his flat now for 5 years, and as of today has gained the right to purchase the flat which he is hoping to do. After completing his dance college course he gained a 2:1 in Urban Dance Practice at Uni and is in the first term of his masters in Contemporary Performance Practice.
Alongside his studies he teaches undergrads at the Uni, teaches dance in Primary Schools and works in a bar in the evenings. Staff at the Foyer hope that he will be interviewed and dance at our Christmas Achievement Event, to encourage other residents with what they can achieve.
Two years ago, just before Christmas, Lydia and her family went on a short holiday. Returning to their flat several days later, Lydia's partner and eldest child went to collect their luggage. Tragically, they were involved in a car accident, and both lost their lives. Two days later Lydia's Nan, who had raised her, died of heart failure.
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Peter is a married man who was referred to our DASV project via the Gateshead Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub after the police were called to his house twice.