I became homeless when I was 18, at the time of doing my A-levels at college. It was due to a family breakdown with my mother, who I was living with at the time with her new partner. My father and my two siblings moved to London and I was the only one left in the house who wanted to continue my life and education in Birmingham. When I was kicked out of the house, I was sofa-surfing for about three days, at which point I came across St Basils.
My first project was Milner Court, which I really enjoyed and had a great experience. The staff were brilliant, very warming and the building was inspirational for those who have just come out of a chaotic situation. At this point, I became involved with many activities and volunteering within St Basils. I took part in their socials like go-karting, and trips to the theatre, restaurants and cinema. This kept my mind of things whilst I was going through homelessness. I shortly moved to more long-term accommodation, Edmonds Court Foyer. where I had a whole flat to myself which I was pleased with. It gave me so much independence and I felt as part of a small community. In addition to this, I successfully completed a Life Skills course during my time at St Basils, and this helped me with my independent living skills.
At the Foyer, I became a Resident Rep, where I would represent the 48 young people’s voices on a monthly basis and encourage everyone to work together so that we can improve the service. I then became a Youth Advisory Board member (now St Basils Youth Council), and next thing I knew, one thing led to the next. I shortly became a member of the National Youth Reference Group too, which was an incredible opportunity, where I truly felt I had a ‘voice’. I travelled around England, including outside of England in some cases like Scotland and the EU in Brussels. In recent years, I’ve also had the opportunity to travel to the Houses of Parliament each year, to help influence youth homelessness policies to ministers, which again, was a real privilege.
After St Basils, I went to the University of Birmingham to study BA Modern Languages TEFL. After two years of doing it, I decided to take a break from uni due to personal circumstances, with the intention to return at a later stage. During this period, I worked as a Support Worker for Midland Heart, and later had the opportunity to work for the Cabinet Office as a Summer Intern, which was very rewarding. On my return to university, I decided to then start fresh and changed my course to BA Education.
After 3 years of university and completing my degree, I am pleased that I have just graduated with a first-class honours, and I was glad my family (including my mother) were able to attend the ceremony. I have since reconciled with my mum too, and I visit her every so often. In terms of after university, I’m really happy that I was able to secure my dream graduate job with the Civil Service. I intend on building my career in the Civil Service long term, as I want to serve society and to make a difference to people’s lives out there, particularly those who face hardship in life. In the far future, I aspire to become a Senior Civil Servant where I hope to influence policy and to tackle social justice issues.
I truly thank St Basils all of the support and opportunities they have given me, as I truly don’t know where I would be right now if it wasn’t for St Basils and their staff who care.