Chelsea and Tammy make plans for the future
REAL LIFE: Chelsea Evans
and Tammy White
are both young women making plans for the future. A scenario they could not have imagined just a few months ago when both were homeless, one sleeping on a sofa, the other out on the streets of Norwich.
Both are now residents at YMCA Norfolk’s move-on supported accommodation at Throckmorton Yard
off Magdalen Street
in Norwich, where they share a flat with a third young lady.
Chelsea (pictured right), aged 19, was chucked out of her mum’s home after her boyfriend Steven
moved in with her and the arguing got too much to cope with. The pair of them ended up in sleeping bags amongst the rubbish skips behind the Iceland store for three “horrible” nights.
That was in January 2009, just after the new Central Norwich YMCA
opened up near to Norwich Bus Station. It was good timing for Chelsea and Steven who were both offered places in the new accommodation.
“I liked it but me and Steven argued a lot and he had to leave,” said Chelsea. “They helped us with cooking skills and getting back into education.
“After ten months, I was ready to move on out of the hostel and had an interview at Throckmorton Yard and a couple of days later I moved in.
“I like it here. You can be a lot more independent, but you can still get the help you need when you want it.
“Last January I felt really down and I was binge drinking because I wanted to fit in. Now I am back to my old self and only drink once in a blue moon. I have got myself back together and got my confidence back. It has definitely been a good move for me,” she said.
And now Chelsea is ready to move on again, this time to a flat of her own.
“I want to go back to college to do a child care course and hope to be a nursery assistant or a classroom assistant. I am going to look for some voluntary work with children. The staff here are full of good ideas but they also help you to be more independent and sort things out for yourself if you want to. I would rather try to achieve things myself before I ask for help.”
Throckmorton Yard consists of seven flats, four for men and three for women. Each has three residents living in them where they share communal areas like the lounge, kitchen and bathroom.
YMCA Norfolk support worker, Luke Brendling
(right), explains: “We are a move-on project and our residents stay for around three to nine months in preparation for gaining their own tenancy.
“We offer a full range of support, getting alongside them, helping them with their budgeting and life skills and how to pay their rent.
“They all need to show that they are progressing forward by getting enrolled at college or training or going out looking for a job.
“We encourage them to engage with the others here, hold residents meeting and show that they can integrate themselves in the community. Communication is important and we are very keen on respect for one another, which the residents need to get on in society.
“We work mostly on a one-to-one basis and try to take them off site out for a coffee or a walk around the city to help them relax and for a chat.
“In the first week we set up client-led goals, as this is a move-on project, for their own flat. The majority will work towards sustaining their own tenancy.”
There are six paid members of staff and they are training up three volunteers. For Luke, the key to success is all about relationships.
“For me it is about equipping the residents with the best we can offer them, encouraging them, which is the key, and showing them love. You cannot do that over a few weeks. I hope we offer something different here and we can really build them up. We really want the best for them and want them to do great things with their lives.
“It is all about building relationships with the young people. It is just taking time and showing that you love them a little bit more and are investing into them.
Throckmorton resident Tammy White
(right), aged 24, split up with her ex-boyfriend and had to leave his flat.
“I ended up with my mum on her sofa but that did not work out either,” she said. “I was offered a place here and I get on alright with the other two girls. Sometimes we sit up to 1am just talking.”
Tammy is expecting a baby in August and hopes the Throckmorton team can help her get her own flat by the middle of May.
“I have learnt to be independent,” she said. “I want to get into voluntary work and I would like to go to college next year for care assistant training, as I like working with people.
“I want to get a qualification so I can get a proper job when the time is right.
“I feel that I have got a proper home now as I have not had one of those for quite a while, not one that I actually feel at home in,” said Tammy. “I actually feel welcome here. It has given me some more hope that things will start to look better for me.”
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