YMCA Northolt Grange is a 10-bed mother and baby hostel for young mums aged between 16 and 21. Warm, welcoming and supportive, this hostel provides a safe place for them to learn how to be independent. It’s run by Senior Housing Support Officer Rose Wright.
Katrina Brogden, 19, moved into YMCA Northolt Grange hostel just over a year ago when she was 18 and her son Oliver was 11 months old. She was unable to remain living in her family home with her baby as it was overcrowded and unstable as her sister was suffering with mental health problems. Katrina went to the council to explain her situation, and was referred to social services.
“I hadn’t really lived with my family since I was 13; I was a rebellious kid. I went to live with my Nan but had to move back home because she moved away. Social services referred me here to the hostel. I already knew about it as I had a couple of friends who had lived here recently, so Rose knew me, too. My family were happy about me coming to live at the hostel too, because they knew it would help me to become more independent.”
Katrina does keep in touch with Oliver’s dad, but feels the situation is tricky, and now and again she takes Oliver to see his dad’s family.
Learning all about life skills, such as budgeting has been incredibly useful for Katrina, and getting to grips with life has helped her stand on her own two feet.
“This place teaches you to be independent. You learn a lot about real life, like dealing with bills, stuff that I think school should teach you! I grew up a lot before I should have. It’s been a good experience, it has its ups and downs.”
Rose plays a big part in Katrina’s life, as she does with all the young mums. “I love Rose, she’s like my mum. I tell her everything. She always supports us, and sometimes we make the wrong decision and she gives us her opinion. She’s a big help.”
Katrina knows that when Oliver reaches three years old, she will have to move on, and she appreciates what she has at the hostel despite the difficulties of being a single mum. “When you are on your own, it does a get bit lonely. But you have to be grateful for what you have got. Within the next year I will be ready to go and I would like to settle down in a flat and get a job.
“My advice for any new mum would be that you shouldn’t feel that you’re on your own – it isn’t as hard as everyone makes out. If you have the right support, you’ll be fine.”