Case study: Jake

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Jake, 21, came to Spring Street hostel in June 2017. He had recently separated from his partner, with whom he has a young daughter and was sofa-surfing at friends’ houses.

He has a strained relationship with his mother and living with his father would mean that Jake would not be able to see his daughter regularly. After struggling to find a place to live, Jake was referred to the hostel. Staying at Spring Street has given Jake the chance to remain in the area, enabling him to continue to see his daughter on a regular basis.

Jake has enjoyed his time at Spring Street. He said: “There is a pool table so I was happy when I moved in. Everyone looks after the hostel. It’s never messy – everyone washes up and cleans up after themselves. Nice people, nice place and it’s quiet here. The staff put on events so you get to mingle with people, so you’re not stuck in your room all day. I’m quite sociable so I’ve enjoyed meeting people… there are some characters in here!”

Jake suffered from anxiety due to the breakdown of his relationship and found moving into Spring Street difficult. He said: “All of a sudden I’ve gone from sofa surfing to living with eight random blokes. Having to talk to someone I’ve never met before about my personal life – it just really put me on edge. But as I got to know Nichola (staff), it just kind of put me at ease a bit. And I’ve got to know a couple of the guys and they’ve put me at ease too”.

Personal circumstances, including the death of his Grandad, during his time at the hostel affected his mental health further and he started self-harming as a way of coping with the situation.

The time spent at Spring Street has helped him overcome this. “It’s given me time to get my head back together again and get me on the path where I need to be. Before I moved in, I was heading down a pretty dark path mentally. It gave me the time to re-evaluate myself, get myself in order again.”

“Nichola has been really helpful. Mainly for me it has been emotional support. She helped me get in touch with people, helped set up meetings and she sat in those meetings with me as well. She came with me to meet the Crisis Intervention Team and sat in one of those meetings with me.”

“It’s been a rocky few months to say the least. Whenever I’m on a bit of a downer and if I needed someone to talk to, staff are there. Tessa was working with me when my grandad died and she helped me a lot. They are just really helpful; I can’t thank the staff enough.”

Shortly after moving into the hostel, staff enrolled Jake onto a mental wellbeing course at Northern College in Barnsley. This helped him develop the skills he needed to cope with his mental health issues.

Whilst at Northern College, Jake noticed ‘Access to Higher Education in Computing’ advertised in the college’s course booklet and was instantly drawn to the course. He went to the college’s Head of IT to start the ball rolling.

Jake was offered a place on the course in October 2017. He left Spring Street hostel and is currently living in student accommodation.

He said: “This is what I’ve always wanted to do and now I have the opportunity to get there. Being at the hostel has given me the opportunity. If I hadn’t come to the hostel I never would have found out about the college. I’m looking forward to getting my life going again.”

Jake is coming to the end of his course at Northern College and, subject to results will take up an offer of a place at Leeds Beckett university to study a degree in game design.  He states that, other than one episode his mental health has improved such that he hasn’t needed any medication for eight months.