I have turned my life around…

‘I’d been living with my mother and stepfather but they found my behaviour too much to handle. I then went sofa-surfing for 6-7 months with friends. Social Services became involved as I was only 15 years old. I then went to live with my brother in London, where I got involved in gang-like activities which resulted in my brother and his girlfriend having their home ransacked and possessions stolen. My Dad was in prison and I found this really hard.

‘I moved back to Cambridge to be closer to my mother as I had missed the contact and the bond between us and wanted to rebuild our relationship. My Social Worker arranged an interview for me at Railway House. Before this I had no real life skills or any real coping strategies to live on my own. I had no real place to call home and nowhere to feel safe and secure.

‘I met with my keyworker who talked about loads of things that all centered around me. We talked about a risk assessment and we looked at my support needs. I was smoking cannabis on a regular basis, suffered depression, I hung around people that were trouble and their culture was violence and I ended up getting involved.

‘I found myself talking more and more to my keyworker and the more I spoke to her, the more comfortable I felt, which made me open up and tell her things that I wouldn’t have when we first started meeting. She would sit and listen to what I had to say and never judge me; she would offer me advice but never told me what to do. I would still go off and do the wrong things sometimes, but found myself going back to her and telling her what had happened. She would let me talk it through without getting angry and shouting at me.

‘An opportunity was given to me to move into the Railway House annexe, which meant I was more independent, but that I could still have support when I needed it. I stopped smoking cannabis and changed who I hung around with. I was doing something positive with my life. Since moving into the annexe, I have had time and space to rethink my choices. My journey has been a bit of a rollercoaster but I now have a firm plan for my future. I am now working full time as a Door Supervisor after obtaining my security license and I have also applied to university.

‘I am in a much better financial place than when I first came to Railway House and can now keep up with paying my rent. I am much better at managing my money and budgeting for my bills. I feel that without the support of Railway House staff I would not have achieved all that I have, I have turned my life around, I have aspirations and want to achieve positive things in my life.’

Mark was accepted to do an Event & Hospitality Management course at Greenwich University and hopes to graduate this year.