“A couple of years ago, things got too much for me at home. I’d completely gone off the rails and my mum couldn’t cope. She kicked me out, so at the age of 19, I became homeless.
I was referred to Roundabout’s hostel and when I first arrived, everything was really overwhelming. Finding myself in a hostel was a shock to the system and even though there were loads of people around, I felt quite alone. At first, I was quiet and reserved and tended to spend a lot of time in my room.
When I arrived, I was assigned a key worker who was great. She kept encouraging me to spend more time with other residents and to get involved with activities, so I started to spend less time in my room and got to know the others.
Slowly, I began to settle into hostel life. After I’d been living there for nine days, I was moved to one of the flats in the building next door, called ‘Number 11’. Mine was on the top floor and I had my own room and a shared living area and bathroom. I still had my key worker next door at the hostel, but was given more space and independence by having a flat. It meant a lot to me that the staff saw my potential and trusted me to be responsible enough to live there.
At first, I was alone in the flats but after a few weeks my flatmate moved in. He was brilliant – we both had completely different backgrounds but we got on so well. It always used to make me laugh when the staff would come and see how I was getting on and do flat checks for cleanliness. They were always shocked because I was so thorough! I even pulled the oven out to clean behind it on a weekly basis, which wasn’t a regular occurrence in the hostel!
Meeting such a huge variety of people really helped me build up my confidence. I was quite a quiet person, but really tried to get involved with group activities, thanks to my key worker persuading me! If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have forced myself to get involved at all, so I’m really grateful.
Once I’d been at the hostel for a few months, I’d learned the skills I needed to live independently, so staff helped me find a property and move out. I moved into my own studio flat in Rotherham and also got my first proper job. I really enjoyed my time over there, but eventually moved back to Sheffield to be closer to friends and family.
Whilst working in Rotherham at a call centre, I decided to push myself as I really wanted something more challenging and rewarding as a career. I completed an apprenticeship at a primary school and gained my level 2 NVQ in business and administration.
I suffer with dyslexia and I wouldn’t have had the confidence to get involved with anything like that if it wasn’t for Roundabout. I recently left the primary school and have started a career in a bank, which is a challenging role but I’m really enjoying it! I also work as a bouncer sometimes, and when I see a Roundabout donation box I always put some money in. The charity does so much for young people like me, and a little donation can go a long way.
As for my living situation, I now have a three bedroom house…it’s awesome! Roundabout taught me about managing money, paying bills and how to be in control of my own life. I am engaged and will be getting married in 2018! It’s very exciting times for me.
When you feel you have nowhere to go and then all of a sudden you’re welcomed into a warm, safe environment to live, it’s very strange feeling.
I’ll always be thankful for my time at Roundabout.”