Charleigh tells her own story of going into care at the young age of 11 following the sudden death of her mother
When I was 11 my mum took her own life and this meant I had to go into care. I got into lots of trouble at school and ended up assaulting a Teacher. I’m not proud of this but I felt alone and really frustrated. It came out in anger and people didn’t want to be around me. When I left care I ended up in shared accommodation and then in my own place. I started taking drugs and spending all my money on takeaways. I didn’t see the point of paying rent. I didn’t see the point of getting up. I wasn’t in a good place.
I ended up losing my flat and moved into supported housing with Key approximately 1 year ago. At first things were the same. I didn’t attend appointments, I didn’t pay my rent. I just spent my money on things that made me feel better.
This one day I got my final warning and therefore my notice, because I’d been in someone else’s flat smoking cannabis. I decided to appeal this. I recognised what I had done wrong and really wanted to change. Key really listened to my point of view and revoked the notice. Over time the other residents moved on and I started to get on well with Hannah my Support Worker. For the first time I felt like she was someone I could trust. She genuinely wanted to help me. She even came shopping with me, helping me to buy meals on a budget. She helped me clean my flat. We will put music on and clean together. We talk a lot. I found myself opening up. That really helped. I started to listen and take advice. We started to plan my weeks. She jokes she’s my Personal Assistant. She has been like family. Helping me with attending appointments. Giving me praise, encouraging me. I’ve just completed a money management course. I’m about to get counselling for PTSD. I have started my functional skills course in Maths and English so that eventually I can start work. I want to help older people. I’ve learned not to get worked up about stuff, try and stay calm. At one time I’d scream and kick off. Now I think I’m fairly decent. I’m finally growing up.
They bring services to us in here and I find that really helps. It can get lonely sometimes and I can feel bored so having people come and talk about different topics helps all the residents and I know Hannah will go places with me if I ask her to.
I’ve got a lovely spacious flat, with my own possessions. It feels like home and I really don’t want to ever lose my home again. I am going to move into independent living soon but I am going to choose my company carefully, make sure I pay my bills and budget properly. Things are going so well now I can finally visualise a future. I don’t ever want to go back to how things were.