Hannah is a resident of The Bridge, one of our purpose-built housing schemes for young people aged 16-25 who are experiencing homelessness. Hannah has been with us for nearly two years. 

Hannah was kind enough to meet us recently and tell us her story.

Originally from the South of England, Hannah moved to Chorley aged 16 with her dad and siblings but soon found her relationship with her dad becoming strained. When a family breakdown occurred, Hannah moved from the family home to stay with friends until a supported housing placement was found.

Initially, Hannah seemed to manage exceptionally well living independently despite her young age. She was studying Level 3 BTEC qualifications at college and working part-time.

Months passed until one day during a regular support meeting with Support Worker, Sue, it became evident that Hannah was feeling overwhelmed and struggling to juggle college, work and commitments at her church, and this was severely impacting on her health. Having few close friends and living in a new area, she was feeling incredibly lonely. 

As a fiercely independent person, it was a massive step for Hannah to open up, reach out for help and trust staff at The Bridge to help her when she had reached crisis point.

Initially Hannah needed emotional support; to be able to speak about how she was feeling and to know she was being listened to. After identifying the individual areas Hannah was struggling with, which included family, college, finances, health, and emotional and physical wellbeing; together Hannah and Sue made a list of priorities which Hannah could start tackling with support from Sue.

Together they:

• Reduced her shifts at work as she had increased her hours at college to catch up on 13 assignments.
• Spoke with her tutor who gave her confidence in her ability to achieve her qualifications.
• Reviewed Hannah’s finances so she could stop working and concentrate on her studies.
• Hannah’s employer agreed to keep her zero-hour contract open so she could go back in a few months if she wished.
• Agreed a payment plan to reduce her rent arrears.
• Improved her relationship with her mum as they were in touch by phone and Social Care agreed to fund trips to see her mum in London to promote positive family contact.
• She was encouraged to speak to people she could trust and she met with her Bishop at church.
• Via her Personal Education Planning meeting at college, Hannah was issued a laptop to help with her course work.

Hannah’s mental and physical health was everyone’s first priority but at first, Hannah was reluctant to see her GP and devised her own strategies for coping with her mental health. She kept a gratitude journal where she documented three things she had achieved or was grateful for that day. She started going to the gym and exchanging fast food or no food for foods that were healthy and that would give her energy throughout the day.

Staff reviewed her progress on a regular basis and gave lots of encouragement and praise until she was ready to see her GP.

Where Hannah is now

Against what seemed like all the odds, and because of her huge determination to succeed, Hannah passed her BTECH Sport Level 3, and her Level 3 Applied Sciences with a Double A* and a Merit, which she says is her proudest achievement.

Hannah is completing voluntary work at Inspire, Chorley Youth Zone while applying for paid work, but in early 2020 she will be taking part in an 18 month mission with her church. When she returns she is going to university to study a four year degree to achieve her ambition to become a chiropractor.

Hannah is no longer on medication and there is a significant improvement in her mental health, she also has more regular family support; her brother is now living in the area, she’s in contact with her dad and siblings, and she still visits her mum on a regular basis.

Hannah now has a good network of friends and has bags of confidence and self-esteem. She says she does not recognise the person she was eight months ago. She is now an independent young woman with big plans for her future and is truly an inspiration to others.

Sue says, “After seeing Hannah so low, it’s been truly inspiring to witness her determination to flip it around. Asking for help and getting the support and boost she needed from her college tutor gave Hannah the motivation to get through this difficult time in her life and to achieve such amazing results at college. We are so proud of her.”

Key Unlocking Futures also provides housing support to young people age 16-25. Click here to visit the Key website for more information.