am classified as 'homeless'. My circumstance, the decisions
I made and the social environment in which I live are
contributing factors to my state of homelessness.
was born in 1956 within the peel of Bow Bells so officially,
"I'm a Cockney". My parents emigrated from
different regions of the Common Wealth. They worked
hard for three years and saved up the required deposit
to mortgage their first home, in North London. For the
next 15½ years, I lived and learnt the values
of right and wrong in a family environment, with my
three younger sisters.
18 years, I met my partner. We lived together for a
few years and saved the required deposit to mortgage
our first home. We got married and we went on to have
two boys now aged 19 years and 16 years. Family life
was materially comfortable, a home, a car, private schooling
for the boys, family holiday every year etc.... In appearance,
this was a perfect family.
my husband's controlling behaviour gradually diminished
my feelings of self worth, self-esteem and self-confidence,
resulting in the loss of my identity. I constructed
a façade based on my perception of the instilled
values of the 'perfect wife' and the 'perfect mother'.
After 28 years together, I reach a point where I could
no longer accept the way in which I lived. I gave up
on the hope 'tomorrow will be better' when I walked
away from the relationship knowing that I did not know
where I was going, or how to rebuild my life.
family member took me in on the condition that I live
my life by their rules. After one month, I decided to
move, realising I had exchanged one set of controls
for another. I had become a regular at the Woman's Day
Centre at Church Army. Through this association, C.A.
via the Marylebone Project, offered me an emergency
one night in the emergency unit, the Marylebone Project
offered me a semi permanent bed at Elgood House. I felt
that 'I was in a place where I did not feel unwanted'.
I consider, staff do the best they can to treat people
as people. This opportunity gave me a safe and stable
environment to build new foundations. Here, I began
the process of completely rebuilding my life.
year on, I have a positive attitude regarding my future.
This has changed from, "expecting others to do
for me or do to me" to "Living life is about
knowing what I want, utilising the opportunities as
presented to me and then offering my service to others".
There is encouragement and support at Church Army, in
my time here, I have felt a change in the hostel atmosphere.
Residents are more inclined to participate in group
activities, encouraged and supported by both Church
Army and residents. This experience has helped me to
realise that I am not alone in my way of thinking or
the methods I employ in realising individual potential.
a result, of this supportive environment, I would like
to share one of my personal achievements. I have successfully
completed a 60-hour counsellor course at Westminster
Adult Education College and I have gone on to apply
for a 1 year certificate course in counselling skills.
C. A. Women's Day Centre, the Marylebone Project and
The Bridge are supporting me in achieving a goal, to
be a fully qualified counsellor.
I wanted to tell my story for two reasons. The first
reason is to reflect on my journey of change and assess
my achievements. The second reason, my story may inspire
people, in a similar circumstance to my own, to view
their time in a hostel as an opportunity to rebuild
creative writing group is a safe environment, allowing
me to explore and enhance my abilities to express and
share life experiences.