“Throughout my childhood I was neglected and abused. I went through secure units, lock downs and children’s homes before the age of 13, by which time I’d been a heroin addict for two years.
I had been working the streets for a couple of years when a girl I was with spotted the One25 van and said they would give us a hot drink and some sandwiches. I forgot about it until I saw the van again months later. One of the women said ‘we haven’t seen you for a while, have you been OK?’ It was the first time in years that someone acknowledged me and remembered me for the right reasons. It meant a lot.
One25 supported me for five years while I was street-working. They became friends but it took time.
There were times when I no longer cared for myself and would happily have walked into the road to stop my pain. One night when I seriously considered it, I stepped out – only to be greeted by the uplifting sight of One25’s bright van.
I visited the drop-in and was given a caseworker. She kept visiting me and helped me get accommodation and money to live and, eventually, childcare. One25 is fantastic because everything is under one roof. They help whether or not you mess up. Knowing that someone cares is huge.
The turning point came when I nearly died. The support I received from One25 helped me to come off drugs (after 20 years), get a home and stay out of prison. One25 helped me to respect and take care of myself.
I haven’t worked on the streets for 13 years. I have a son, Fred, who I love to bits and a relationship back with my daughter who was in foster care when I couldn’t be the mother she deserved. She comes to stay with me and Fred at weekends and it’s amazing. Slowly but surely I’m getting my life back on track. It’s still a long hard road, but each day that goes by I know that I made the right decision.
I’ve done so much in the last 13 years! I studied psychology while bringing up Fred. I volunteer. I go to church where I’ve made great friends. On the streets, when I came down from the crack the sound of the church bells would make me cry. I didn’t want to think about God – or about myself. Now I feel blessed in my life.
There were so many times when I wondered what I was doing out there trapped amidst the madness, chaos and danger. One25 was my one bit of sanity. You were my lifeline. And if you can help me, there are lots of people you can help. Please let the girls out there know my story and see that change for anyone is possible. xx”