YWCA Yorkshire is making a real difference to peoples lives such as Sarah's. If you are experiencing a similar situation to Sarah, we're here to help. You can find out more about our supported housing on our Centres page.
Sarah was referred to our Sheffield centre, having fallen out with her mother and kicked out by her friend's parents she had nowhere else to turn. Sarah's story is unique to her, but the circumstances are all too common in Yorkshire.
Sarah was 16 when she was referred to us, close to adulthood, she was at a critical juncture in her life. She hoped to go to university but didn't have any safe and secure place to lay her head at night, let alone study. At the time, the college she attended had become her home, arriving early and staying late were the only options. Continues below...
"Moving into the YWCA was the worst feeling I've ever experienced"
Like most teenagers her age, Sarah didn't imagine things would pan out this way, but the YWCA was there when she needed it the most. "I was in denial about the whole thing. I refused to believe that this had happened to me and I was now living in supported accommodation, why has this happened to me?"
"The first few days were tolerable to say the least. Sorting out benefits and things with Debbie was all too much for me" Sarah struggled to adapt at first, feeling confused by the circumstances that had led her to seek emergency accommodation. "My relationship with my mum was non-existent. She didn't think like me. She didn't want me to go to college and university was a definite no. My responsibility to my four younger siblings was becoming more than just a sister role".
Sarah knew that she needed to find somewhere else to stay or her dream of going to university would be in ruins. Sarah adapted quickly to life in Peile House, our Sheffield centre. It wasn't long until she had made friend's with the other residents, and with the help of our supported staff ensuring that she had the best environment for her to flourish.
"Christmas at YWCA was the best Christmas I've ever had"
Christmas came along, it was spent with most of the other residents in the centre "Sue (Project Manager) really seemed to understand how important it is to be with people over the holidays and she made it nice and homely, Christmas at the YWCA was the best Christmas I've ever had"
It wasn't long until the YWCA began to feel like home, and she'd made friend's with the other residents "Being in a group of friend's and getting to know the staff… you start to create this place in your mind as your own. It’s not just an office to staff and visitors. This is our house and it’s the people that make it a home. It’s all about the memories that we create inside this place. Some people don’t see it like we do, they probably stereotype"
"This is my home and everybody else’s. I’m sure all the staff are aware but… you (the staff) see it as 'I go to work' but I know I see it as “you come into my home to work”. This is all some of us have and this is all some of us have ever known. It’s good to be mindful when being in these sorts of jobs I think, that this is more than just your job, it’s our lives too."
"My time at YWCA would not have been great as it has been if it weren’t for the staff. Each and every single one of them."
Sarah is now studying at University and has very high ambitions. We believe she is going to achieve this due to her amazing determination and her excellent spirit.
If you'd like to help young women like Sarah see our Fundraising, Donation and Volunteering pages.
*Names and pictures have been changed to protect the individuals identity, but the story and quotes are real