“I walked around with a big smile on my face. I felt more free. I like the quieter atmosphere and I love having my own place.”
Before moving into YMCA DownsLink Group’s 24- hour supported accommodation, life had been pretty chaotic for Archie. He left school at 16 and had a succession of casual jobs that didn’t lead on to anything. At 17 he didn’t feel comfortable staying with his mum when her new partner moved in, so he began a period of sofa surfing with occasional stays at home. Eventually, he was referred to our supported accommodation, which gave him a stable base at last. He was glad of the opportunity to start building towards a better future.
“I didn’t know how to apply for benefits or handle finances, YMCA has really helped me to get sorted out.”
However, over time he had turned to alcohol as a coping mechanism. He continued to drink heavily which led to involvement in some fights and issues with the police. His YMCA keyworker encouraged him to reduce his drinking, but the message didn’t get through until his girlfriend issued an ultimatum: they were over if he continued to drink. He explains:
“Things fell into place in my head. They were both saying the same thing and I saw it made sense. I decided I needed to make changes, so I did.”
Since then, Archie has proved that he’s ready to move on to live more independently. To do this, residents in our supported accommodation have to fulfil certain criteria such as being in education, training or work for a minimum of 16 hours a week. They also have to manage their own finances, cook and clean for themselves and generally live more independently while still within a very safe environment. This is all with the aim of moving into their own private rented accommodation in a couple of years.
Archie also came across an opportunity to qualify for a forklift truck driving licence but it cost £395 which was out of his reach. However, he was able to successfully apply to our Life Change Fund – which comes directly from generous donations from our supporters. The fund is available to young people who need financial support to achieve something of significant benefit to them.
Archie is now 19 and looking ahead to the future:
“I’ve got a better understanding of what I want to do and where I want to go. I want to qualify as a forklift truck driver and get a CSCS card for the construction industry. I’ve had short term jobs in construction but the forklift truck training will benefit me for the long term, I’ll be able to find better paid work. Moving into the YMCA has opened up opportunities to me. Without it I think I’d be living in a caravan somewhere, still picking up casual jobs. I’d be drinking too much, with no plans for the future. Instead, I can see a way forward and I’m making progress. Moving here has been brilliant, it’s great having my own space and things are looking really positive.”
We wish Archie every success in the future.
You can make a difference to a vulnerable young person near you
If you would like to support a young person like Archie why not sign up to our ROOM SPONSORSHIP scheme. For just 40p a day you could make a long-term difference to a young person needing support at this crucial time in their lives. You can put them on the path to a brighter future.