“It was becoming unbearable at home”
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Ben* was a shadow of his former self after years of physical, emotional and financial abuse at the hands of his father.
He was diagnosed with severe depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) but counselling sessions were only managing to keep the 21-year-old’s head above water. On top of that, Ben had been forced to take out a number of loans which meant he was in £5,000 worth of debt.
Ben was referred to Thrive and then Bromford where the priority was to find him alternative accommodation so that he could better manage his mental health as well as developing skills to live independently. Initial meetings with support worker George Christian took place in the local library as Ben’s increasingly desperate situation was assessed.
Did you know?
Our latest Social Value Report reveals that 1,700 customers moved on from short-term support services during 2014-15. A total of 7,834 successful outcomes were achieved, which is 87% of the needs which were identified overall. The report shows that, just like Ben, 87% of people benefiting from our short-term support services managed to reduce their debt whilst 91% were able to better manage their mental health. 81% participated in training or education. The 2015 Social Value Report also highlights that for every £1 spent, the wellbeing return on that investment is an impressive £8.42.
Ben explains: “From the age of three I can remember things happening at home and I was always on guard because of it. I wouldn’t even like leaving the house and by April (2015) I was texting George all the time as I was very anxious to get out of the family home. I was even staying with my grandad to get a bit of respite as it was just becoming unbearable at home.”
The pair visited the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) and were able to get one of his debts completely written off because of the domestic violence he had experienced. Then in May 2015, Ben became the first resident to move into a private apartment at Meadowcroft Court in Woodside, Telford, which is a new scheme for young people aged 16-32. Meadowcroft Court is run alongside Woodlands View and both offer supported accommodation for vulnerable young people who are either homeless or at risk of homelessness with complex needs.
Less than 12 months on and Ben is now one of four community reps and is responsible for putting together a newsletter for the 22-bed facility as well as managing their Facebook page. He has also organised several charity events including a Macmillan coffee morning which raised £68 and an overnight stay out in Telford town centre which collected £147.
“The first month after moving in was probably the hardest because after that initial adrenaline rush disappeared, I became quite isolated again for a while,” Ben said. “But I soon made it my home and since then I’ve not looked back.”
He added: “Last month I started my treatment for my PTSD, which still gives me seizures three or four times a week. The treatment is helping me to transfer bad memories from one side of my brain to the other. I’ve just started studying at Open University for a psychology degree and eventually I would love to have my own domestic violence charity so I can pass on my knowledge and experience to other people.
“I absolutely love helping people. There’s another guy at Woodlands View who had really struggled at other schemes but I took him under my wing and he’s also considering Open University now and is very much involved in all the activities we arrange here.”
Ben returns home once a week and added that his relationship with his family had improved considerably since moving out of the family home.
*name changed to protect identity