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Jade explains how proposed benefit cuts would dramatically impact her life

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Jade Burgwin, 17 from Cannock, fell pregnant when she was taking her exams and about to leave school. Scared for the future, she had nowhere to stay.

Jade's mum has bipolar and manic episodes making it an unsafe environment for Jade and her baby and there is no spare room at her dad's house - at one point, Jade did try to live there but it was so overcrowded it meant her sister sleeping in the dining room.

It was only when Jade attended a local group for parents-to-be that a support worker suggested she applied to Bromford for help. Jade says: "It was a lifesaver! I applied in September, had Charlie in January and moved into Bromford Support accommodation in February. It's great to have the support and someone to talk to. I don't have any relationship with Charlie's dad.

"Bromford has also helped me with budgeting and sorting bills out and it's great to be independent. I want to better myself in college which I plan to do next year once Charlie is a little bit older so I can earn a sufficient wage to support us. Things are also looking brighter as I am now in a very supportive relationship."

Debbie Hall, Fixed Scheme Support Worker for Jade, said: "Jade is so young
to be living independently and she needed mental health support when she first arrived here. Since then, her confidence has grown - so much so that she is going to be a buddy on the scheme where she lives and will provide an out- of-hours contact to help give advice, for example, who to contact if something breaks down." 

Jade's opinion on proposals to cutting housing benefits for under 25's:

"If such benefits were removed from me I would end up back at square one. It would be increasingly difficult to find my own independence again and I am afraid I'd sink into the depression which I suffered with before.

"People who cheat the system and claim benefits that aren't needed should be the ones who have their benefits removed; not single parents who are trying to make something of their lives and won't be able to do so if those benefits weren't in place.

"I strongly believe that if this goes ahead, many people will end up homeless and jobless. There are not enough jobs to go around so it will force thousands of young people onto the streets."

Debbie, Jade's support worker, concluded: "I don't know where young people in dire situations would go if this service wasn't here - they are too young to get a tenancy in their own right meaning they'd have to stay in conditions that are detrimental to them." 

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