Supporting People: Summer’s story

Supporting People Wales

Summer* who was suffering from domestic violence from her then husband worked up the courage to leave with her 3 children, she spent some time with her brother before moving into our Nightingale House hostel and then her own home. Here is her story.

I have three children and I was suffering from domestic violence at the hands of my husband. In my mind if I didn’t leave I would lose them to social services as I couldn’t cope, I was so worried.

I was living in another area of the UK at the time, my mother was close by but I couldn’t go her as she was the person who set me up with my husband and I felt that she wouldn’t support me.

I contacted my brother who lived in South Wales and let him know that I needed help, he said I could stay at his for a short time but would need to sort something out as soon as possible as he was in the middle of a move. After that conversation I decided to leave.

When I arrived I had a few days rest before he took me to the Cardiff Housing Options team who were able to get me a room in Cadwyn’s Nightingale Hostel that day.

When I walked in my mind was blown. When you think of hostels you think they’d be dirty but it was so clean, there was even a playground for the kids. The staff were extremely welcoming and made me and my children feel at home straight away.

However, after experiencing domestic violence my confidence and self-esteem were severely affected, I was also struggling with depression despite the best efforts of the staff. I would just lock myself in my room and would try not to talk to anyone. The staff were patient and gave me space when I needed it but were also there to give me advice when sought. Eventually I started to leave my room a bit more and would start socialising with the other residents which improved my confidence.

Eventually I was offered my own home in Cardiff where Nightingale House helped me to apply for a DAF grant (Discretionary Assistance Fund) which meant I could buy furniture. I was nervous about taking the leap but I’m so glad I did.

To the staff at Nightingale, you saved my life, you picked me off the floor and helped me to restart my life and I’ll be forever thankful for it.

I’d like to thank Darren Henry who is a Support Worker there who has been amazing. He’s done so much to support me and the kids and I’m so grateful.

Darren Henry Support Worker at Nightingale House said:

“The support I provided was both on a practical and emotional level.  A key factor with the progress Summer achieved whilst at Nightingale was a result of her motivation and focus no matter the obstacles she was faced with”.

Support like this only exists due to the Supporting People Fund from the Welsh Government which is currently under review. Cadwyn along with other housing associations are backing the ‘Let’s keep on Supporting People campaign’ which aims to:

  • Protect Supporting People funding in the Welsh Government budget for 2018/19.
  • Retain the ring-fence around Supporting People funding – so that it can only be spent on these services.

For more information on this campaign please visit our website.

*The name of this person has been changed to Summer to protect her identity.

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Supporting People: Debbie’s story

53677857 - toddler girl holding hands with her mother outside

Debbie* had a tough upbringing as a child which probably contributed to her history of drug abuse and self-harming.  When she became pregnant, she knew something had to change.  Here she tells her story of how the support she received at Hafan helped change her life.

I’ve always wanted a kid, but when I found out I was pregnant I started questioning am I ready for this, am I going to be good enough for her? I didn’t know where I was going to go.  Luckily, on the day of my birthday I got to move into Hafan.  I was 7 months pregnant.   It was such a relief because I was worried about where me and my baby were going to live when she was born.

Gill and Pauline really looked after me.  I came from having nothing. They got me some clothes, helped me do a bit of shopping and were just there when I needed someone to talk to.

They helped me so much around the birth of my daughter.  They helped me get my maternity bag together, Gill helped me make a list of everything I needed to get for the baby and sort them into age appropriate boxes because storage space was limited in the flat.  She helped to arrange my bedroom ready for when the baby arrived.

Gill also took me to housing appointments, hospital appointments, meetings with social services and whenever I needed to talk, they were there.  They even brought things to the hospital for me when my daughter was born, even though they couldn’t see her.  I really felt that Gill and Pauline went beyond their job to help me.  They were like family to me.

When I felt ready to move out, Gill gave me my notice and took me down to Housing.  It was on my daughter’s birthday that I got the phone call to say that I had been allocated a temporary flat and I had to move in a few days.  That was really scary because yet again, I had nothing to move with!  Gill helped me fill out my Discretionary Application Fund which I had to wait 2 or 3 weeks for.  I had to use the last of my emergency money to buy a fridge and pay for a van to pick it up.  I didn’t even have a cooker!  When my money came through I was able to buy all the white goods we needed.

I lived in temporary accommodation for 7 months before I was finally offered permanent accommodation.  I had to pay again for a removal van and for people to help me move all my stuff into the flat.  But I’m so much more settled now.  Even though Hafan was a great place, you always know in the back of your mind that it’s not permanent.  Now I know that I can make a life for me and my daughter.  I’m sat here and I’m stronger.  I don’t self-harm anymore.  I don’t take drugs anymore.  Social Services closed their case against me over a year ago.  The only support I get now is from the Health Visitor.  I do it all on my own now.

I still ring Gill and Pauline every now and then to see how they are doing, but it’s nice not to have all that over your head anymore.  It’s nice that once you’ve gone through your bad patch, for it to be your bad patch. In the last 2 years I found strengths I didn’t even know I had.

Without the support I had I don’t think I’d be here now.  I don’t think I’d have my child.  Even though Gill was my support worker, she was my friend too.  I didn’t have anyone else.  If it wasn’t for someone believing in me I don’t know what I would have done.

*The name of this person has been changed to Debbie to protect her identity.

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