"My childhood was a particularly chaotic one"
At 16 I was placed at Ludlow Foyer by a social worker, for the first 6 months I was probably not the easiest of residents, I felt very depressed and anxious and would take drugs. Fortunately, the staff continued to work and encourage me to do something with my life. It was a slow process at first, but I started meeting with Foyer staff, attending workshops which I never thought I would do, and realised that they were actually quite helpful. Some taught me skills like cooking and budgeting, others were more relaxing like the quiz nights or getting involved in the cycling group. The Foyer referred me to county training where I did a foundation course in English, Maths and ICT. Then I went to Ludlow College where I am taking a B-TEC in Business Studies. I also started getting involved in Grow, Cook, Share and training up through an ASDAN in catering skills which has led to paid work. Without a constant support and motivation of the staff I would probably still be using drugs, hiding away from everyone and never have got back in to education. I feel now I have a successful life ahead of me and I can't wait.
"At 15 I found myself homeless"
My relationship with my mum broke down and at 16 I moved in to the Foyer. I had almost completely dropped out of school, so the Foyer secured me a train pass to attend and checked on me every day and made sure I sat my GCSEs. I used to take drugs and refuse to attend workshops, but the staff gave me a chance to prove myself so I started attending workshops which were actually not as bad as I thought, I particularly enjoyed the cooking workshops. This led to me attending Grow, Cook, Share every week where I was able to gain more skills and knowledge in catering as well as an ASDAN. From this I have helped out at a variety of catering events run by Grow, Cook, Share and the Foyer. I have also been applying for apprenticeships in local restaurants. Having been living at the Foyer for 18 months I had learnt how to budget my money, cook, keep a tidy bedroom so I felt I was ready to move on and get my own place. The staff helped me work through the move on programme so that I knew what to expect in my own place, they also offered me extra support now that I've moved, so if I have any problems they are only a phone call away.
"I had a breakdown of relationship"
I could no longer live with my step mum and my dad. It was the best thing for me to do to move into the Foyer, as our relationship got a lot better after this. When I moved in I was unemployed and had no idea what I wanted to do. I found it hard at first to adapt to living on my own. I am the sort of person who will not ask for help when I need it. The staff soon noticed and quickly acted and gave me the support I needed. For the first three months I was into drinking and I just did nothing with myself. After a lot of support and help from the Foyer and my father, I was looking at college courses and looking for work. I found a job in the paper for an apprentice. The company did a lot; intruder alarms, fire alarms and CCTV systems. It was something that appealed to me so I applied for it and I get the job. So, over one and a half years later I am still in the same job and really enjoying it, hoping to have made my dad and all he people supporting me proud and also helping to make a good name for the Foyer project to help give inspiration to others so that they can make the right start in life as I'm very fortunate to have done.
"I left school at sixteen"
My time at school was very difficult, I had learning difficulties, was in a special needs class and I was horribly bullied. Family life was pretty unsettled and I got in with the wrong crowd. I was very vulnerable and people took advantage of me and I suppose I let them. At nineteen I came to live at the Foyer. It wasn't easy for me, I couldn't remember things and I really struggled with reading and writing. I was scared having to attend the workshops as I didn't really want to get involved too much and I usually forgot things. Staff realised that something wasn't quite right and I had an assessment which showed that I had dyslexia and a very severe memory problem and also a hearing deficiency. At last - a reason for being as I am. At the last the help I needed. Staff helped me get into skills for life classes at the college and I gained a level 1 certificate in Literacy. I started to attend workshops at the Foyer and got some more certificates. Then I got the confidence to do some voluntary work at the Youth Centre. The Foyer gave me a chance, a place where people listened to me and made me feel valued and it gave me back my self-respect.