H was 19 when she was first referred to GISDA by a counsellor from her college where she was studying an outdoor pursuit course. H was really struggling living at home. Her mother was an alcoholic and their relationship was extremely volatile. According to H:
Before moving to the hostel my life wasn't great. I was going to college but very unhappy because of the lifestyle I was living in. My life back then wasn't worth living
What do you remember from the time when you first moved into the hostel?
I had heard people saying different stuff about the hostel, some good points but also some bad points. I remember being scared and worried on the day I was moving in. The staff soon put me at ease when they came to pick up my belongings. I was shocked with how big the room was. A member of staff helped me unpack my stuff and she was really chatty, which made me less nervous. There was a cooking session on the evening I moved in. Some of the other residents cooked for me and we had tea together. It was really nice and helped with my confidence.
H settled in well at the hostel and she worked really hard while she was there to continue her first year in college. She then went on to complete her second year, which was a massive achievement and a testament to her commitment. H Supported herself financially by working 4 hours a week. She accepted a zero hours contract in a local shop which provided her with a very low income, out of which she kept her accommodation running and paid for food and clothing. Life wasn’t easy for H. She was unable to claim any additional benefits due to being in full time education. However, with the support of her key worker, she received an educational grant to help her with college.
Despite experiencing true hardship, H flourished at college and at work. After about 8 months of living in the hostel H got her own flat through GISDA’S move on accommodation flats.
I feel one of my biggest achievements is living on my own and being independent because I never thought at my age I would be in my own flat, settled in a relationship, and actually happy
What were the pros and cons about your time at GISDA?
I had amazing opportunities when I was at GISDA. I was able to go away on a sailing trip with my key worker and others for a week. I thought this time was just brilliant. I couldn't believe I got the chance to have that experience – an experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I also went on loads of days out which have all been amazing. We went to Flip Out, Liverpool, a football tournament and I have been on loads of walks and stuff as well.
I don’t think there have been many cons but what I would say is that it’s been hard living with very little money. GISDA has kept me alive and helped with my problems. GISDA has saved me from a broken home and helped me get an independent, happy life. I wanted to quit college when times were hard but I’m glad I didn’t because now I’ve got a Level 3 qualification.
H has recently moved to her own starter tenancy with the local authority and has set up her first home where she is getting settled. She has also completed her college course and gained her qualifications in Sports (Outdoor Adventure) Level 3. She has also gone up to a 16 hour work contract in her job.
What’s the plan for the future?
Now I’m in my new flat my plan is getting a better job which will be full time so I don’t need to rely on benefits. I would love for me and my partner to move in together and start a life together and maybe in the future I would like to start my own family because I want to raise them the right way
H’s dedication and commitment to succeed is a credit to her character. We wish her all the happiness in the world and look forward to checking in on her progress from time to time.