Former St Basils resident Grace, now 33, got back in touch with us this year after registering for Big Birmingham SleepOut and applying to be a volunteer. She has shared her story with us, from becoming homeless aged 18, to the support of St Basils and how that support helped her move on to achieve the successful career she has today as a Broker.
“St Basils will always have a place in my heart. At the age of 18 I was asked to leave my family home after coming out as lesbian which was very difficult, to my parents - who are now wonderful & extremely understanding, may I add, and completely forgiven.
“At the time I slept from sofa to sofa before St Basils found me a place in one of their premises, Shaftsbury House in Moseley. They were great and gave me an array of opportunities: team building weekends; mentoring; the opportunity to travel to Strasbourg to European Parliament to take part in a discrimination debate and generally helping me grow as a person. I was eventually given a place in a shared property, before finding a flat of my own.
“Now 15 years on, at the age of 33, I’m a successful broker, living with my wonderful fiancée in Sutton Coldfield, and due to marry in January next year. Life’s great, and I’m even better. I want to give back to St Basils the best way possible, raising as much as we can for St Basils and recently signing up to volunteer in my spare time as a rewriting futures volunteer in Birmingham.”
She adds: "If my story helps & inspires just one young person out there then that would truly be amazing. Hope, inspiration and faith is all they need. 'We all have to feel a bit of rain to appreciate the sunshine' "
This year Grace and her friend Damian took part in the Big Birmingham SleepOut on November 25th, alongside over 600 other St Basils supporters.
Grace, who had never taken part in a SleepOut before, said of the event:
"It was really good, we had a great experience. It was absolutely freezing which was to be expected but managed to build a snug shelter so it wasn’t too bad once we were all in our sleeping bags. The atmosphere was great, lots of smiling faces & nice to share the experience with people from all walks of life all there for the same reason.”
Grace and her friend Damian (pictured) have raised £1170 so far, far exceeding their £300 target!.