I’ve just turned 18. I’ve been in SASH since February 2017. There was a breakdown in the relationship with my Mum. The problems go back a long way. She went through a lot of stuff when she was younger, then I lost my Dad when I was 13 and it affected her, even though they weren’t together.

One night there was a massive argument and it wasn’t safe for me to stay there, so I had to leave and go to stay with some friends. I didn’t get much sleep that night. My maths GCSE was the next day. I failed it because I slept through my exam.

I stayed with some family friends until I turned 16. I went to the council and SASH was suggested to me then, but the idea of staying with a stranger felt too awkward, so I went into a hostel.

It was awful. When I got there, I just sat in my room. I was in a right state because I didn’t know what to do. I had nobody.

I started going to college. From September to December, I didn’t miss a day, but after spending Christmas in the hostel I started getting really depressed. I stopped going to college. I wasn’t sleeping, it was all a struggle.

That’s when my mental health got really bad. It was a really low point for me. I was so close to suicide. If I’d stayed there I don’t think I’d be alive if I’m honest.  My friends say they never want to see me like that again, because they knew that if I’d been in there a month longer that would be it.

The staff at the hostel said how much I would benefit from SASH. So I came and met Nick and I thought, ‘well he’s a lovely guy’, and I met some people in the office and everyone was absolutely lovely. When I came into Supported Lodgings, I felt warm, like a family was around me, because you know they’re there to support you.  My host was really nice to me, she made me feel comfortable.

“Everybody deserves a chance, and they’ve given us all a chance, so thank you.”

Before SASH I’d never been able to hold down a job.  I used to have a really bad work ethic, but talking to my support worker I realised that if I really wanted to be where I said I wanted to be, I’d have to make some changes. They encouraged me to get into work and now I’ve been in the same job for about 10 months.

Me and my Mum do speak now. At first, when I moved out, and I’d failed my GCSEs, I was really angry at her for what had gone on. Our relationship is better now.

I’m about to move on from SASH. I feel ready, the time is right.  I’ve got a one bedroom flat, through the Council. It’s perfect and I’ll still have support from SASH as well. I was really worried about having to buy everything, but SASH have got me a cooker, washer, bed, TV – all things that have been donated.

I’m most looking forward to being able to come home, sit down and have a cup of tea in front of my telly!  And have friends round, being able to chill with them. Just having my own space, something that I can call mine, start from scratch, and make it my own.

Looking back to when I first left home, the person I was then and who I am now are two completely different people. That time was the worst period of my life so far, even worse than losing my Dad. Now I’m happy, I feel positive, I prefer not to look at the negative side anymore.

Because of all the support that I’ve received, I feel that I want to give something back. I can’t change the whole world, but I can make it better for maybe a few individuals – one small act of kindness can go a long way. I’m looking into a career in support work.

I want to thank all the staff at SASH including the people I don’t know and all the people that donate. Thank you, because they’re changing my world and every young people’s world that struggles with youth homelessness. Everybody deserves a chance, and they’ve given us all a chance, so thank you.

Inspired by how Ollie’s world changed for the better? Click here to find out how to become a SASH host.

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