Arguments with her family and problems with alcohol meant Kendal’s life was out of control. This is Kendal’s story.
My journey started at the age of 14 when I left home to live with my friend’s family, following years of disagreements with my dad.
I stayed with them while I finished high school but my difficult upbringing led me to turn to alcohol to cope and things quickly got out of control. I was, understandably, asked to leave and struggled for months with nowhere to live.
Eventually, I was accepted by YMCA Norfolk’s Supported Lodgings Scheme, where I spent a short time before moving on to YMCA Central in Norwich.
I quickly found that YMCA Norfolk could offer me a safe and secure place to live with support and structure so I could begin to learn how to live independently.
The staff at Central offered amazing 1-2-1 support and guidance even through some of my most difficult times.
I entered a relationship which became violent very quickly and I thought the only way I could cope with this was to turn back to alcohol.
Soon my behaviour became out of control and being under the influence got me into a lot of trouble. I stopped prioritising the important things like looking after myself and paying rent to keep my accommodation.
My support worker never gave up on me though – she gave me hope and the right support links to get further help. But I continued to struggle – I got myself in to a lot of debt and eventually I was evicted.
I was miserable and angry to be sofa-surfing once again, but I was lucky enough to be helped by a friend to get back on my feet. I realised that I needed to stop drinking, I found myself a job, then I started an NVQ course and my life began to change.
I still hadn’t found myself a secure place to live, so I approached YMCA Norfolk again, nearly 18 months later, as I knew they could help me.
Because of the steps I had taken to get things back on track and on the way to independent living, they gave me a second chance. I was referred to Throckmorton Yard and by the time I went in for an assessment, I had already started to address my rent debt at Central and was determined to pay it all back so I could go forward with a clean slate.
I moved into Throckmorton Yard in the New Year and was so relieved to have some stable accommodation. However, I never lost sight of my goal to live in my own home and have been unwavering in my attempts to get there.
I’ve paid off over £750 of rent arrears and am now finally debt-free. I completed my NVQ and progressed to a Level 3 course in Customer Service earlier this year. I have also recently started an exciting new job in a contemporary restaurant where I can complete my course by learning and progressing at work.
My time at Throckmorton Yard has shown me that I can manage all aspects of my life now and I know where to seek support if I need it. I am ready to move on, equipped with the independent skills I have learned and the confidence that has grown within me.
My time with YMCA Norfolk has helped me to realise who I am and where I want to be in 20 years. I am committed to working hard to build my career in the restaurant business and one day I aim to be a general manager.
I have so many hopes for my future – I want to see the world and have my own home and a dog. I want the security of knowing that I will never have to worry again about not having enough money or a safe roof over my head and, when I have children, I will know that they will never go through what I had to.
The YMCA has been there supporting me through the brightest and darkest days and the people there have inspired me to keep going forward at all times. My move-on is within arm’s reach and I am so thankful to the team at Throckmorton Yard for taking a second chance on me so I could get where I am now.
One day, when I am settled, I would love to give something back by doing some charity work and eventually come back to the YMCA to show everyone all that I have achieved.