This is the story of Sarah.*
Sarah grew up in a home with a mum who suffered from mental health issues. When Sarah was 12 and her brother 2 she found herself becoming more and more the main carer for him as her mum’s mental health deteriorated with frequent hospital admissions. Subsequently they became very close.
At 16 Sarah was desperate to leave the family home, she told me ‘you have no idea how hard it is, living with someone with poor mental health’.
Sarah went into a homeless hostel and began a beauty therapy course while working part time in retail. Sarah moved in with her boyfriend who she later married. Sarah suffered several miscarriages including two sets of twins who she delivered at 4 and 6 months. Happily for Sarah she later managed to carry a baby to full term, a gorgeous, healthy little girl.
Through this Sarah began to notice her partner becoming more controlling of her, financially abusive and at times violent towards her.
At 14 Sarah’s brother was having trouble at school. His weight ballooned & he was moved from mainstream school to a behavioural unit. Sarah stepped in and he moved in with her and her boyfriend. Within 6 months her brother settled down into mainstream classes & now attends college.
An escalation in violence from her partner culminated in Sarah’s brother being attacked forcing Sarah to call the police. She was warned by Social Services that her baby would be placed on the At Risk Register if she didn’t leave him. Her partner was jailed but the subsequent threats and harassment after his release and intervention from Safer Wales lead a judge to take the unusual step of placing a lifetime ban on Sarah’s partner from contacting her. Sarah had to leave her home for personal safety and go through the arduous journey of homelessness for the 2nd time where she became a Temporary Accommodation tenant.
Through all of this Sarah completed her beauty therapy course and began an Access Widening Course through Cardiff Met. She had been supported by our marvellous Alessa from our Realise your Potential team in another life at Taff, and upon moving into Temporary Accommodation Sarah reconnected with Alessa who supported her with funding for her UCAS application, her personal statement and her application offer from Cardiff Met.
I’m delighted to say Sarah has been awarded a place at South Wales University where she hopes to study to become a Social Worker. A truly inspirational young lady with resilience in abundance; we’re exceptionally lucky to meet people like Sarah on their journey & hope that the homes we provide give them the space & time they need to complete their journey.
*Name not her real name*