This is a tenant’s story about how she made a difference to her life, which she has asked to share with others.
Being a single parent with two young children at 25, was not in my life plan but that’s where I found myself.
My husband had left me living in a privately rented property, months behind with the rent and penniless.
With eviction looming, facing a life in temporary council accommodation and relying on benefits, I was extremely frightened.
Over the next few months I went through some of the darkest times of my life, living in a flat where I was scared to take my children out of the front door, lying awake at night listening to fights outside and the comings and goings of the customers of a suspected drug dealer living upstairs.
It was only my children that kept me going, their smiling faces when we braved a trip to the park or managed to save enough money to buy a new dvd for them to watch.
After living in temporary accommodation for six months I received a letter offering me a council property on a nearby estate. I was so excited when we went to visit the flat – there was a park for the children, a local shop and a school and nursery nearby.
We moved in a few weeks later and I decorated every room using the voucher I’d been given by the council for paint and decorating materials. The carpets took a while to save for but eventually we had a lovely home we felt safe and secure in.
Slowly but surely we all made friends, the children at school and I became friends with a couple of mums living nearby.
One day when I was dropping my youngest at nursery there was a sign displayed in the nearby community centre on our estate asking for volunteers to help out at a couple of the nursery sessions which took place at the centre.
I had completed a childcare course at college when I left school but had never used the qualification. I started helping out and really enjoyed it. A few months later a vacancy was advertised at the nursery and everyone encouraged me to apply.
I was still so low in self confidence that I nearly didn’t go for the interview, my friend almost dragged me there and waited outside to make sure that I went in! To my surprise I got the job. I was so happy; finally I could earn my own money to support my children. Ok so I still got topped up with Tax Credits and a bit of housing benefit but nothing felt as good as my wage packet in my hand at the end of the week.
My self confidence grew over the years that I worked at the nursery and I went from being too scared to answer the phone to running sessions and organising activities myself. Now, over 10 years later and after lots of courses and hard work I am the Nursery Manager.
Looking back I never thought I could achieve anything after I’d been left on my own having been told I was useless and stupid and my self confidence at rock bottom.
When I sometimes think back to those dark days in temporary accommodation and I know that I’ve come out the other side a much stronger individual who my children appreciate and respect for everything I been able to give then it make me so proud.
My experience demonstrates anyone can change their life if they really want to!