Marie's story: I faced pressure to move
Marie spoke to us about her time in unregulated accommodation before moving to the Together Trust and her experience of moving to independence.
I was in and out of emergency placements because they couldn’t find anywhere for me, so my social worker took me to a caravan in Preston, which was called a crisis placement. She said I would be there for 28 days, but I was there for 12 weeks and 3 days. The whole time I didn’t see any of my friends. I didn’t go to school. I didn’t see anyone.
There were four people who came on shift, two at a time, and they had a budget to take me out on loads of activities. But it wasn’t fun because I didn’t know where I was going or what was happening. It was very emotional. Every night the staff would sit there for about an hour trying to stop me from crying because of how upsetting it was.
My social worker got a new job when I was still living in the caravan, so I didn’t have a social worker when I first came to the Together Trust. Ian and Debbie from the Trust came to see me in Preston, and I was happy with what they told me about the home and they gave me a little book showing pictures of the home, my bedroom, and the staff. I wasn’t disappointed when I met the staff as they were all very nice.
I went to a school in Oldham at the time and I decided I wanted to change schools to have a fresh start. This was a bit difficult for me, leaving friends behind, but the staff team supported me, and I loved my new school.
Unfortunately, my time at the new school didn’t last very long because of Covid but since then my relationships with the staff have gotten stronger as we have spent so much time together.
I faced pressure from the local authority to move into semi-independent accommodation when I was coming up to my 17th birthday. This was in the middle of the pandemic and at a time when I didn’t have a support network. I knew I wasn’t ready and thankfully the staff at Together Trust supported me to challenge it.
We’re taken off our parents and we're supposed to be cared for but it feels like they’re avoiding that responsibility when they try to put us in unregulated accommodation. It’s like they think we can just fend for ourselves and it’s not right.
Moving into a flat on your own at 16 or 17 when you don’t know anything about living on your own can be really hard. Especially if you don’t have anyone you can turn to for help.
I’m 17 and a half now and I’m moving into my own flat this week. The difference is this time I feel prepared to live on my own because of the work I’ve done with the staff at the Together Trust.
It makes it less intimidating for me because I’ve had to manage a budget to pay for food and bills, cook for myself and get up for school on my own. I also spent time learning about benefits, voting and pretty much everything I need to know about moving out!
I’m really excited but nervous and I’m sad to be leaving the staff. They have helped and supported me these past two years and made me who I am, and I couldn’t be more grateful to have lived here.
It’s my home.
If you have a story to share about your care experience you can email Ali our Communications and Campaigns Manager and she'll arrange a time to chat: firstname.lastname@example.org