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Young Peoples Support Foundation

CONTACT

YPSF (CCP)

52 Oldham Street

Manchester

M4 1LE

Tel: 0161 228 7654

Fax: 0161 236 5081

infomcr@centrepoint.org

YPSF (Signpost)

St Andrew's Hall, Brownley Rd

Wythenshawe

Manchester

M22 0DW

Tel: 0161 436 5432

Fax: 0161 437 1055

infomcr@centrepoint.org

16/17 referral duty line

07961 586 822

9am to 5pm

Monday to Friday

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"I can't tell you how good life is now" - Siobhan's Story

2011

When 19 year old mum Siobhan was forced to leave her north Manchester home due to harrassment, she knew exactly where to turn. As a pregnant 15 year old, she’d sought the help of YPSF to secure accommodation for herself, her partner and the baby that was on the way.

Originally from Wythenshawe, Siobhan had accepted a property in Blackley when she became pregnant because she knew that if she refused it she was unlikely to be offered anywhere else. But, away from her family and friends, life for the teenage mum became incredibly difficult and her relationship soon buckled under the pressure.

Left alone at 17 with a young baby to look after, miles away from the people who could support her, Siobhan became victim to a campaign of harrassment. People she initially thought of as friends soon turned on Siobhan when she refused their requests to turn her much-loved home into a place for them to socialise.

“I just wanted to be a good mum, and give a good home to my son, Jake” says Siobhan. “When I stood up to them they started shouting abuse in the street, and it just became unbearable. When my windows were smashed I knew I had to get out - it wasn’t safe for me or Jake.”

So Siobhan fled the property and went to stay with her sister in Baguley. But with her sister living in a two-bedroomed flat with her three children, there was no room for Jake. Siobhan took the heartbreaking decision to ask his grandma to look after him while she found a new home for them both.

“What I didn’t realise though, was that in the eyes of the housing department I’d made myself intentionally homeless, so I wasn’t entitled to a new property,” says Siobhan. So she returned to YPSF, and immediately they started to take action.

“Straight away my support worker got on the phone to the housing association of my old property and told them about all the problems I’d been having. She took me up to their offices so I could make an official statement, and then together we started working on my appeal against being refused a new property.”

Unfortunately though, the appeal failed and Siobhan was told she would not be re-housed. “All this time, Jake was living with his grandma – his dad’s mum,” she says. “I saw him every day, but I couldn’t wake him up in the morning or put him to bed at night. It was heartbreaking. I just wanted a home for me and my son.”

So Davina helped Nicola to launch another appeal, which was successful – but the property they offered Nicola was in Crumpsall, just a couple of miles away from her harrassors, and miles away from her friends and family.

“I knew that if I took that house I’d just be back where I started, and I felt like I’d come too far to just give up and go back,” says SIobhan. “It was tough to refuse that house because I was desparate to be with Jake, but there was no way I could put myself back in that siutation.”

By now, the uncertainty of her future was taking a toll on Siobhan and she became depressed. Desperately missing her son, and living in a crowded flat with no space of her own, she thought she’d hit rock bottom. But a further blow came with the news that Jake’s grandma had applied for a residency order so he could live with her permanently.

“I was devastated,” remembers Siobhan. “All this time I’d been fighting for a home, and now I had to fight for my son.”

Siobhan went straight to her support worker, who immediately arranged for a solicitor to act on her behalf. “It was even harder for me to deal with because Jake’s dad hadn’t bothered with him for over a year, and even though I knew his grandma loved him, his dad wasn’t around and had no idea about how much I’d had to fight since he left the house in Blackley.”

In the meantime, while Siobhan was fighting the residents order and appealing against the decision not to rehouse her, her support worker had been working hard behind the scenes to arrange suitable accommodation for Siobhan and her son. Then came a phone call with the news she'd been hoping for.

“My support worker phoned me and she was really excited, I could hear everyone in the background laughing and shouting and happy,” remembers Siobhan. “She told me that she’d had a phone call from Lorna Lodge, which provides accommodation for young women and children, and they’d offered me a flat.”

Elated, Siobhan went straight to Jake’s grandma with the news. “Straight away, she told me that she was really happy for me and that she’d start getting Jake’s things together,” says Siobhan. “She explained everything to me, and I realised then that she hadn’t been nasty in trying to get a resident’s order for Jake, she just wanted to make sure she had some rights when it came to his welfare. But as soon as she knew I had somewhere safe to live, she was absolutely delighted for us both.”

Within days, Siobhan was given the keys to her new home – a smart, modern, one-bedroomed flat in Wythenshawe with a security-guarded reception and intercom entry.

“I can’t describe how brilliant it felt going through my own front door with my son,” smiles Siobhan. “He ran in and saw all his toys and he knew straight away it was his home. He still sees his grandma all the time, but now he’s home with his mum.”

With Siobhan and Jake settled in her new home, the court hearing was cancelled and the housing appeal called off. Finally, Siobhan had a stable home with her family and friends around her.

“I can stay here for 18 months, and then I’ll qualify for a house,” she says. “And I know for certain that the house will be in Wythenshawe, so I don’t need to worry about being moved away from everyone I know again.

“Without YPSF, I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this. I really don’t like to think about how my life would have turned out if they hadn’t been there to help me. I didn’t know what intentionally homeless meant, I didn’t understand why people were telling me I should have stayed in a place where I was being harrassed and in danger. It was so horrible not being in control, but YPSF gave me back control of my life.”

With a stable home life, Siobhan can now plan for the future. “Jake starts school in January, so I can go to college to do hairdressing,” she says. “I started an NVQ course in Northenden when I was pregnant, then when I was moved to Blackley I transferred to Abraham Moss college, but I had to give it up when I left. I’m really excited about starting it again and getting my life back on track.

“I can’t tell you how good life is now – knowing I’ve got everything back. My support worker still comes to see me once a week to make sure everything’s fine, and to give me advice on budgeting and bills and things. I can’t thank her enough – she’s got me where I am today, and now I have a future.”

View all Young People's Stories

01/02/2017

YPSF Merges with Centrepoint

2015

"I loved it there, the staff were so friendly" - Natasha's Story

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