“In Supported Lodgings you feel you want to achieve something, you’re worth something”

I’m 20 years old. I’ve just finished my hairdressing qualification and I’m a qualified hairdresser now. I did a two year apprenticeship at a salon in Scarborough. Hairdressing is something I love, so I do it for family and friends but there’s not a lot of money in it.

I came into SASH just before my 18th birthday. My childhood wasn’t a good childhood, but I don’t go on about it because everyone’s had, maybe not a bad childhood, but everyone has their own story. I lived with my auntie when I was about 9 or 10.

My education was terrible, absolutely terrible. I didn’t get any GCSEs, I didn’t go in year 11, Year 10 I just turned up when I liked. They put me on this scheme where I was doing 4 hours a week, and I wasn’t even doing that. I was really bad at school, but people said “you were cheeky but you were never a nasty person.”

I moved out when I was 16. I moved in with my ex-boyfriend for a year and a bit. His dad said ‘if you are living under this roof, you’re going to college.’ So he made me go to college, he’d always make sure I was up in the morning. He really did help me. I got on to the hairdressing apprenticeship while I was there, working five days a week.

Then I split up with my boyfriend and I went sofa surfing, staying with my friends. I enjoyed being with different people but obviously I knew I couldn’t live my life like that.

I went to the council offices and I was enquiring about flats, and they told me about Supported Lodgings. I didn’t like the sound of it at first, I won’t lie, it didn’t seem very nice. I thought, I’m not living with strangers! But I thought go on then, I’ll give a go, so I went round and met the hosts and I just knew then… It’s just awesome that people do things like that. I was a bit nervous at first, but I was excited as well, because I had my own bedroom. I’d never had my own bedroom before!

My hosts are absolutely amazing, they’ve changed my life. They’re lovely people and it’s definitely something I would do when I get my own home, and I’m stable.

I’m definitely not the same person I was when I was younger. Then I was very gobby. Being in not a very nice environment, that’s how I was. Now everybody says to my mum ‘she’s grown into such a lovely young lady’, polite and so on. I try to help people as much as I can. That’s what I really like to do, help people. That makes me feel good. My brother is a year older. I’m very close to him, our childhood affected him more than it affected me. I want to be successful, so I can help him and others.

If I had carried on the way I was, I wouldn’t have gone into any education, I probably would just be pregnant, just had children living off benefits. That’s the environment I was used to, that’s all that was going on around me. But when you get a different surrounding of people, you start to change.

Without Supported Lodgings, I don’t think I’d have kept up my apprenticeship. In Supported Lodgings you feel you want to achieve something, you’re worth something. Being there has given me confidence, people skills, cooking skills. I’ve had to do my own washing, keep my bedroom tidy, socialise with new people. The hosts are amazing, absolutely amazing. It’s quite sad because they’re retiring at Christmas.

I’m hoping to go into the army next. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I put an application in in 2012, but I wanted to be a tank driver, and women weren’t allowed to be tank drivers until a few weeks ago. It’s a long process, but it will be worth it. Even if I got in for just four years, I’ll have some money behind me. It’s a starting point and I’ll enjoy it.

My dad’s very outdoorsy so we’ve always been out in the woods from a young age, making fires, camping and so on. When I was at work experience for school I went to Strensall Barracks and did a week there. I’ve got friends in the army, I just like way of the life.

I’ll shortly be moving out of Supported Lodgings. I’m hoping to get my selection soon, then start my training. If I hadn’t decided to give Supported Lodgings a go, I don’t know where I’d be.

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