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‘I feel more settled now, more positive about my future’

Only 19 years old, Richard was completely distraught and in crisis when presenting himself at New Horizon Youth Centre in the spring of 2013. In 2010 he had come to live with his father in Barnet, hoping to rebuild the relationship with his father, having been raised by his aunt as his mother passed away when he was very young. Having had very limited contact with his father in his formative years and in a long-term conflict with his stepmother, the relationship eventually broke down. His father told him to leave. After a short period of sofa-surfing he could no longer stay with his friends – and his college exams were due in only a matter of weeks.

Richard felt he had run out of options and was desperately trying to stay in further education. New Horizon helped him to identify the alternatives. He really wanted to return home, but his father and stepmother remained unwilling to accommodate him. At high risk of sleeping rough, he chose a referral to Depaul UK to stay with Nightstop hosts, and eventually accessed the Nightstop Plus extended stay scheme. New Horizon Youth Centre, Depaul UK and the student support service at his college worked in partnership to ensure Richard would not miss any lessons and had access to quiet spaces to complete assignments.

Richard realised he had never cooked, budgeted, paid rent or contributed to household bills. He was also struggling with depressed thoughts and feelings. He therefore decided that supported accommodation would be the best move-on option, so that he could receive practical and emotional support. Worried and nervous about the hostel assessment, Richard prepared for this with the New Horizon Youth Centre in-house communications worker.

Richard is now living in foyer accommodation, giving him longer term stability as well as the support and space to develop independent living skills. Keen to rebuild the relationship with his father, he is also engaging with the Alone in London family mediation service. During the entire process, and showing the resilience and aspirations of so many young people in housing need, Richard never missed a day of college.

London Youth Gateway partners New Horizon Youth Centre, Depaul UK Nightstop and Alone in London worked together to prevent Richard sleeping rough, dropping out of education, being cut off from his family and his emotional wellbeing deteriorating. Consequently Richard no longer feels distraught, but is instead optimistic: “I feel more settled now, more positive about my future. I have made new friends and it’s going well in college. I think I will apply for university.”

Richard

square‘breaking the cycle of abuse’

Caroline is a 24 year old bisexual woman. Caroline was raised in an abusive household and ran away from home when she was 17 and has been in and out of accommodation projects for most of her life. After Caroline left her abusive family she fell into an abusive relationship with a man, and later was in an abusive relationship with a woman. She is now pregnant with a child whose father no longer wants contact. Caroline has found her pregnancy to be a “wake up call” that she wants to end the cycles of abuse in her life and become a supportive mother.

Stonewall Housing’s advice and advocacy has helped Caroline to find a mother and baby unit to live in. Stonewall Housing has also supported her to access benefits she will need as a new mother. Galop’s Jigsaw Caseworker has provided hour long one-to-one sessions discussing her past, how to identify abusive relationships, sexual health, positive self esteem, and protective parenting skills. Caroline has also been encouraged to attend counselling as well as community classes on pregnancy and parenting. Caroline is showing positive progress and determination towards breaking the cycle of abuse.

Caroline