Case study: Charlotte

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Charlotte (not her real name), 17, has been living at one of Horton Housing’s hostels for several weeks. She came to the hostel after separating from her partner, with whom she had been living with at another hostel in Bradford.

Charlotte is having a positive experience at Horton Housing’s hostel and she is grateful for the staff there. She said: “I enjoy living by myself and learning how to live independently. It’s nice because you come back to your own place and I’m keeping a roof over my head. The staff support you through it. They are there to talk to and they try to help me as much as they can. I give credit to them – they are brilliant. Now that I’m here I don’t have any problems to worry about.”

Her life has turned around since she arrived at the hostel. On her first few weeks of living there she said: “I wasn’t actually doing anything – I’d get up every day and I’d go out there and smoke every single day.”

Through staff support and settling into the hostel, Charlotte is motivated and is content with her current circumstances. She said: “Obviously, you get what you put in. I’m trying to put in as much as possible –  I will make stupid mistakes and I’ve already made a few since I’ve been here, but they’ve understood why I’ve done it.  I do like being here – it is really good. I’ve changed a lot since I’ve been here.”

Recently, she has enjoyed going on residentials run by the National Citizen Service (NCS). Hostel staff recommended the NCS courses to residents, after seeing how useful the residents would find it. The courses have given her a new lease of life and have taken her away from the routine that she relied on during her first few weeks at the hostel. She said: “It gets you up and gets you doing something. It was the best time of my life. I didn’t smoke when I was there (on the residential) and I wasn’t bored at all. There’s so many things that you can learn outside doing stuff, rather than sat in a classroom.”

Charlotte now sees a brighter future for herself, she said: “Since I’ve come here (to Bradford) with my ex and I’m now on my own – I think I’ve had lots of new experiences. I’m now planning my life and putting roads in my life that I can go down, instead of putting it on hold.”

In the future, Charlotte hopes to find a job in the social care / social support services sector, as she is inspired to take on a role she has seen ‘first-hand’ through those in the sector who have supported her in her own life.