We know that it can be difficult to approach someone to ask for help, but as many of the people we have worked with over the years have told us; they are more often than not glad they did.
Below is a selection of stories as told by some of the people we have helped over the years. Their hope in sharing these memories is that they can encourage other people to get in touch.
I am a different person now than the person who came to Key in a mess.
Before I got involved with Key I was in and out of college, not really settled in to anything. I didn’t have much confidence with other people which didn’t help. Lacking confidence was a major obstacle to moving forward in my life. I didn’t get involved with anything because I felt I couldn’t cope with other people. I had been in care on and off growing up and lots of awful things kept happening to me. I felt I was never going to amount to anything.
I have worked with Key on confidence building and life focus projects, like making a vision board, job applications, interview skills, cookery lessons and so much more than that. I have had lots of counselling too through Key to stop my past ruining my future.
I feel like a different person now after all the support I have had. I have gained so much confidence. Key never rushed me they let me do things at my own pace. The more confidence I have, the more I can see my goals at the end of my journey. It helps when things go badly to stop and know that I can reach my goal if I work at it.
As a result of working with Key, I have started a part time cleaning job and I am doing volunteer work with families and studying to become a counsellor so that I can give something back to young people like me.
Key made me realise that there are people out there to help when you really need it. They have also made believe that you can do anything if you set your mind to it!
Kat was referred to Key for floating support by South Ribble Council. At this point Kat was eight months' pregnant, homeless and sleeping on her auntie’s couch. This was a very low point in Kat’s life; she was depressed and couldn’t see a way out.
When Kat gave birth to her daughter, South Ribble Council placed Kat in emergency accommodation and at this point Key came on board to help.
Kat’s floating support worker helped to get her into temporary housing and then into her own house.
When Kat was in her own tenancy, her floating support worker successfully applied for a community care grant for her, obtained funding for a washing machine and helped her receive furniture through Gift 92; a furniture reuse and poverty alleviation charity.
When Kat was settled into her new home, her floating support worker referred her for employment coaching to help improve her confidence and motivation to access education and to find employment. Kat met with her employment coach weekly for three months and worked towards various accreditations and life skills including setting goals for the future, living on a budget, cooking and nutrition.
Kat was also helped to enrol on several college courses to improve her maths and English grades and to give her an introduction to the Health and Social Care sector, in which she wanted to work.
Two years on from Kat’s first introduction to Key, she now has her own tenancy, is much happier and has seen a great improvement in her own confidence and motivation.
She is still attending college and started a full time course in Health & Social Care in September.
Kat wants to be a support worker for young people with housing issues. She knows what it’s like to be homeless and wants help people like she was helped by Key. Kat has helped Key during the time she has been supported by volunteering to be on the recruitment panel for interviews for new staff.
Karen was at her wits’ end and didn’t quite know what to do to get her son to comply with her rules.
Karen felt that her son Archie, never listened to her and failed to do even the simplest of tasks whilst she was at work. Karen said if things didn’t change, Archie would have to leave as he was making things at home unbearable.
Karen had heard about mediation and contacted Key, as a means to help improve the situation at home.
I found the mediation process challenging at times. I thought that I didn’t need to change and that it was Archie who needed to make all the changes. Mediation has helped me to realise that I can’t have it all my own way. I found that through discussion I also needed to make some changes and compromise. It helped me to appreciate that each person has to discuss and agree what would work for us and that this must be realistic if it is to be achieved. Karen
I feel that talking with the mediators and my mum has helped me to see that my actions and my past behaviour has upset my parents. I understand that talking things through and listening to other people’s points of view has made things much more positive at home for everyone. Archie
When I look back to a year ago I realise how much my life has changed.
Back then, I had huge debts and didn’t know how to cope with any of them and I had lots of people sending me letters and phoning me up asking for money. All I wanted to do was run and hide – it was really frightening.
I had just come out of a violent relationship and was living on my own with my young daughter in a place I didn’t really know and where I didn’t know anyone. I didn’t know how to pay my bills properly so that I had enough left for food and the other things I needed.
My local children’s centre put me in contact with Key and I was given a floating support worker. She has been fantastic and helped me get to grips with all of my debts. She has written to all the people I owe money to and set up affordable repayments with them.
We have worked really hard on budgeting and I can now pay all my bills and know how much I have left to live on.
She has given me lots of information about local services and has even taken me to new meetings so that I don’t feel awkward about going in on my own.
My confidence has really increased with the help of my support worker. I now volunteer for a local charity two afternoons a week and this will hopefully lead me to a full time job.
I know I couldn’t have done this on my own and I have Key to thank for all of that.
Zac's mum Mary had become seriously ill as a result of addiction and this had a very negative impact on both her and Zac's mental health and wellbeing.
Mary continued to use cannabis because she felt it helped her to manage her condition.
Zac felt this was selfish of his mum because she didn’t support him. He also felt that this was making their home life difficult as it was making her mental health issues worse.
The situation at home for both Zac and Mary was unbearable and they became estranged as their relationship deteriorated further. Things became impossible at home for Zac, as each day presented many challenges with his mum’s changing behaviour which could be very volatile; Zac felt his only choice was to leave.
Zac was sofa surfing when a friend told him to go to Key. We found him emergency accommodation as an interim measure and helped him to apply for more permanent accommodation on housing registers.
Zac was also referred to Key’s Mediation Service. Initially his mum didn’t want to engage but after discussing the benefits she agreed to meet. Over a period of time and with the support of mediation, both Zac and Mary told their story, saying how it was for them.
This process gave each person time to be heard and also to listen to the other’s view point. This helped each person to become more aware of how the situation was affecting them both. They each they wanted to build their relationship and agreed to meet on a regular basis and also text each other weekly.
Increased positive contact has been maintained and Zac now has his own tenancy but still sees his mum weekly and feels that their relationship is now more relaxed and on an equal footing.
Rebecca, 24, is a mum with a two year old son.
She had grown up in a home where her mum was a heroin user and invited lots of other users into her home. Rebecca found this a very difficult place to live in every day, especially after the birth of her son but it wasn’t until her mum punched her in the face that she packed her bags and left home.
Key became involved at this point and supported Rebecca through bed and breakfast accommodation and then a period in temporary accommodation.
Rebecca’s future is now looking bright as she is about to move into her first home with her son.
Key helped by setting up all her bill payments, making sure her benefits were in place and importantly, have been able to apply for a grant for her so she can buy a cooker.
The support from Key has been life changing for Sasha. We can’t believe how much has changed. It has made such a difference to the whole family. Sasha is so much happier and can see a future for herself. Sasha's mum
Sasha suffered brain damage as a baby. Shortly after this she was taken into care and later adopted. As a result of this trauma Sasha has learning difficulties, epilepsy and is partially sighted.
Sasha left school with low grades and progressed to college where she struggled without sufficient support. As a result she left college.
When she came to Key, Sasha was very low in confidence and was adamant that she would never return to college. Sasha said she would like to work with animals or children, but first wanted the confidence to complete every day tasks such as going to the shops or reading the newspaper.
Early in Sasha’s work with Key it became apparent that she really struggled with reading and writing.
Key arranged for her to have a dyslexia assessment. The assessment showed that Sasha suffered from a significant difficulty in this area. Key was successful in obtaining funding for Sasha to undertake a specialist six month programme to increase her reading and writing skills as well as the money for a laptop and other learning aids. Sasha’s reading and writing has improved immensely as a result.
After liaising with the local college Sasha will be returning to education in September with a full package of support to do a foundation learning course which will lead on to a qualification in childcare.
Sasha’s confidence has grown so much that she is now attending a youth club weekly to meet new friends and has completed 40 hours' voluntary work in animal care.
Now with his own tenancy, Gaving became homeless when his father gave up the family home to be with a new partner who lived in London.
Gavin became depressed when his dad left and lost his job as a consequence. He found it difficult to gain further employment which made him sink deeper into depression. Gavin has not worked since but he sees his new tenancy as a fresh start to kick start his career aspirations – and his one true passion - music. Whenever things were bad at home he always found a release in music.
Since leaving school Gavin had played in a number of bands across Lancashire and can play various instruments including guitar, bass, piano and has taken lead vocals.
Gavin also writes his own songs. His last band split up earlier this year to Gavin’s dismay because of family commitments of other members, so he has decided to go solo. He knew that if he had the right equipment he would be able to find work and make a living.
The problem was how to get started when he had no money.
This is where Gavin’s employment mentor from Key has helped. She helped him put together a business plan and to secure a grant to get him started. Gavin is now starting to pursue his dream and will continue to be supported by Key to give him the best chance of success.
Tom, who is an insulin dependent diabetic, was supported through Key’s drop-in sessions and was successful in getting his own one bedroomed flat.
The initial move went well and Tom was assisted by Key to ensure that he had all his benefits in place and helped to furnish his flat through a number of furniture projects and a successful application for a Community Care Grant.
Following initial resettlement, Key arranged for Tom to have a floating support worker. Tom continued to be a regular visitor to Key and attended over 30 times to receive support.
Tom’s mental health began to deteriorate a few months later. He began to self-harm by hitting walls and riding his bike into objects; quite often he would cause himself serious damage. He was experiencing suicidal thoughts. Key supported him to attend his GP’s surgery as he found it difficult to deal with professionals and was at risk of being removed from the doctor’s list due to his aggressive behaviour.
Tom needed encouragement to take his anti-depressant medication. During this period he was very down and required significant emotional support from Key. Although he was offered counselling he felt that he would rather deal with his feelings himself.
Tom began to focus on designing a tattoo and as his income was reasonable due to his Employment Support Allowance and Disability Living Allowance, he began to go for tattoo sessions as he found that the pain helped with his feelings of self-harm.
Tom’s determination to conquer his depression paid off and he successfully started bar work. Key supported Tom at this point with his budgeting skills as well as making sure that the necessary agencies were informed that he was working. Sadly Tom’s contract ended after 12 weeks but Tom learnt that working is one of the things that will help keep him well.
If you have a story to tell us about how Key helped you then please contact us and we will try to share it.