“I am achieving things I didn’t think I could.”

Louise* had a tough 2021 and was in a really difficult place. She was mixing with people who were a negative influence on her life and as a result making decisions that were detrimental to her health and wellbeing. This led her to drinking and using drugs. A relationship break-up then resulted in her sofa surfing with no safe and secure place to live.

Thanks to a friend, Louise was helped to get onto Universal Credit and was signposted to The Benjamin Foundation. Initially, she was supported by The Benjamin Foundation Tenancy Support Team and was later put into contact with the charity’s Job Coach, Joe with regards to trying to find work. Louise secured a job offer, but due to personal circumstances and the influences that were still around, she lost the opportunity.

Louise was then put forward for supported accommodation by her Tenancy Support Worker, and moved into one of The Benjamin Foundation supported accommodations towards the end of 2021. Despite still struggling with mixing with the wrong people, a short-term Christmas temporary role helped to begin moving things in the right direction.

After the role finished, Louise began to work more closely with Joe, The Benjamin Foundation Job Coach and tried to find an avenue of real interest and one that had career prospects. After a while, the idea of education was discussed and together Louise and Joe started to approach colleges and looked into facilitating a longer-term plan of University. Louise expressed that because of her past and her own experiences, she wants to be in a position to help people and offer them similar support to which she has received.

After a few months of work and figuring out the best course of action – along with patience whilst trying to get the right information and support, Louise secured a place on an access course at the local college studying Social Sciences, and now aims to move onto University in the future to study Psychology or another health-related study to work in the Social care or the Mental Health sector. Together with the support of the Job Coach, Louise has managed to navigate applications, accessed an advanced learner loan, new identification and bursaries to get everything ready for the new college year.

Louise is also working alongside her new course, and has recently begun a new role as a Personal Assistant for a young person who struggles alone. She wants to use the role to gain experience whilst obtaining the qualifications she needs.

Her plan is to take a year out after college and spend some time earning money and “seeing some new places in England and abroad because I deserve to.”

Louise acknowledges the help she has received and expressed her thanks to everyone at The Benjamin Foundation: “Without The Benjamin Foundation and the Job Coach, Support Workers and a secure place to live, I would not be in the position I am now with things to look forward to.”

“I sometimes can’t believe what is happening when I look back to where I was, which was only the recent past. It feels like other people are happy to see me doing well and that makes me happy too. I am surprised where I am, but also proud of myself as I am achieving things I didn’t think I could.”

*Name has been changed.

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