After being kicked out of her family home by her mum’s boyfriend and spending months living in her cousin’s shed, Joanna, aged 25, was desperate for her own space and a permanent home. A home where she could relax and feel safe. That’s when she came to YMCA Hayes in September last year.
“The best thing about living here in the hostel is that you have your own room, your own space. The people here are nice too,” says Joanna.
Family relations have been strained and it’s only recently that Joanna has begun to have contact with her mum again. “I wasn’t talking to my mum because we had an argument; I only just started talking to her at Christmas. I’ve got an older sister who lives with my Dad and a younger brother who lives with my mum”.
Joanna grew up in Harrow and finished school when she was 16, but her education stopped there. “I went to college, but I left because I had a lot of family problems with my mum and dad breaking up”.
YMCA gives you support and your own space
She feels YMCA has given her a lot of support, with her key worker giving her advice when she needs it. “YMCA has really helped me get back on track, helped me get my certificates and got me talking to people. I’m definitely more confident – I’ve had a lot to deal with”.
Joanna took part in the latest Get on Track programme, delivered in partnership by YMCA on behalf of the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust to mentor young people and get them into employment. “I enjoyed it, it was fun meeting new people. I was really nervous at the start”.
As a result of the programme, Joanna will start volunteering with YMCA soon. She will attend Photography and Make-Up courses with The Prince’s Trust. “I can’t wait to start!”.
In terms of plans for the future, Joanna is unsure what’s ahead, just taking life day by day at the moment, but she has hopes and ambitions: “My dream job would be working with animals and photography, that would be awesome”.
Her advice to any young person considering Get on Track? “I would say go for it, you get to meet new friends, you get a chance to talk to people and you learn a lot”.