Rayven’s mum, her sole carer, died when she was aged 9 and she was taken into Care. Rayven is a caring young woman and likes to volunteer, helping out in the local community. She has also done some training courses with the Princes Trust and the Army.
“I’ve lived at Bromsgrove 8 months. It’s alright here. I’m safe and I get help and support. It’s a nice building and it’s near to my Mum’s grave.
I get help and support here that I’ve never had before. I love the staff, they’re so funny!
While I’ve been here I’ve been on a Princes Trust programme and I volunteer at a local café and community centre. I help out at The Basement project too. The Basement project help local people, with counselling and food parcels. I help make tea and food down there. I don’t do the cooking, as I’m still learning, but I help out.
I help out at a café and community centre too, as an assistant helping out in the kitchen, I take food to people’s tables, I take orders sometimes too. When I’m in the community centre I man the reception, welcoming people. I’d miss it if I didn’t go there. I’m friends with the manager’s brother. We used to live on the same street.
I left school really young. I had to move around a lot in Care so I’d missed a lot of school anyway.
When I first came here I was in the process of joining the Army; I’d started a training course with them. I wanted to join because I’ve never really had a family and also it’s really not as serious as it looks, they’re all mad! They dance around singing to themselves! I think I’d fit in perfectly!
But as it turned out I wasn’t ready to join the Army and now I’ve got to wait 2 years but it’s still an option that’s open to me. I could go in the future if I wanted. I enjoyed the Army training but we were crawling through everything! I fell face first into a load of mud! I got a bruise just from carrying the rifle, it was so heavy. If I did go into the Army in the future I would want to work my way up. I would like to get to Bombardier level - that’s pretty high up.“
St Basils staff have tried to help me with my Life Skills. I’m not great at budgeting. I always pay my bills on time though and staff are trying to help. It is working slowly. We do cooking with Corrina every Tuesday. We’ve made loads of stuff with her but my favourites have been cookies, Lasagne, Spaghetti Bolognese, Pasta Bake.
This is the best place I’ve been since my Mum died. I feel safe here and it’s given me some breathing space to think about what’s next".
Vanessa and her older sister were adopted as children. Concerned for their welfare, they were referred to St Basils as teenagers by staff at the college Vanessa attended.
Vanessa lived in our Bromsgrove supported accommodation project for around 2 years. Moving on two months ago, she now lives in her own flat in Bromsgrove. She is seeking work at the moment and is part of Vinspired, a County Council initiative to help 18-24 year olds find work. She took part in a sky dive recently to raise funds for St Basils. She also volunteers 3 days a week at a local pet store.
Vanessa, 21 said:
“I lived at New Road (Bromsgrove’s Supported Accommodation scheme) about 2 years before I moved into the flat I’ve got now, at the end of May. Sometimes it feels a bit weird living on my own, but sometimes it’s quite nice. I don’t have people constantly knocking on the door, it is lonely but sometimes when I’ve just got in from work, it is nice to come back and just chill in my own space.
I did Life Skills with staff while I was living at Bromsgrove, you can choose which modules you do. My cooking one has come in very handy! Another was budgeting and that’s come in very handy too. I’m quite good at budgeting. I keep all my receipts and I keep track of everything I spend.
The best thing about living at St Basils has been all the support I’ve been given the last two years. I’ve had two support workers here. Both of them have done a fantastic job. If Dave (her first support worker) was here now I like to think he’d be impressed with how well I’ve moved on. I’m even quite impressed myself.
When I first moved to Bromsgrove I was literally rock bottom, I felt like I was at the bottom of a big hole, in the dark but I feel like I’m climbing back out now, which I’m really happy about.
My confidence was very low when I first came here, but even though things are still difficult sometimes, I feel like I can handle it now.
I don’t think I’d be where I am now without the support I’ve had. If I was still at home or even if I’d lived at Bromsgrove but without all the support I’ve had, I don’t think I’d be feeling like I do – that it’s been quite a positive outcome.
My biggest plan for the future is to get a job. I’ve done a lot of volunteering and I do enjoy my current volunteering job, but I want to earn my own money now. I get by because I save but I have to be careful.
I’m struggling to get a job because everyone wants to care for animals and employers want qualifications. I did Level 1 and 2 in Animal Care at college but employers want 5 GCSEs grades A-C and I struggled at school, I think partly because my home situation was so bad, it did effect my concentration.
At the moment I’m part of Vinspired which is a programme run by the County Council that gets young people back into work. We’ve done all sorts of things with Vinspired that will help us find work; writing CVs, building our portfolios, work on communications skills, positive wellbeing and customer service.
Soon I’ll be doing a tandem skydive for St Basils. This is our community project for Vinspired. I’ll be jumping out at 15,000 feet strapped to an experienced professional. I’ve had a lot of people say I’m mad to do it but I’m doing it because I want to do it and I want to raise money for St Basils. I know St Basils and I know this money would be very useful to them. I’m hoping to raise at least £100, hopefully more, but it’ll be something. As they say “Every Little Helps”.