Susie's story - YMCA DownsLink Group

Susie’s story

Susie's story

[Spoiler: this story has a very happy ending – do make sure you read to the end]

Susie was the second youngest from a big family with older children and a single mum. Her mum worked very hard to look after the family and they moved around a lot, but it was a happy home. Her older siblings moved out and it was just Susie and her little sister and mum.  Then her mum’s boyfriend abused her little sister and everything changed. After a difficult time with police/courts and social services and her sister was moved into foster care. Because Susie was 18 she ended up on her own after her mum went to her family abroad. Living in a rural location Susie was scared and lonely. She stopped going to college and was finding it hard to cope. That’s when she was then referred to YMCA DownsLink Group and she was given a home in our 24-hour supported accommodation.

Susie takes up the story:

It’s hard for me to talk about what happened when I was 18 as I love my mum and she worked hard to look after us all when we were little. A horrible thing happened because of my mum’s boyfriend and my little sister was taken into care. My mum thought I’d be fine living on my own when she left the country to go back to her family but I really couldn’t cope. I was living in a rural location, miles from college and was scared to go out in the winter as it was so dark so I started missing college and my grades slipped.

I was struggling with claiming jobseekers allowance and dealing with bills and rent. Luckily, a lady at the council referred me to YMCA and everything got better.

I was super excited to start living somewhere that allowed me to be close to transport, shops, and help with anything I needed. It was a blessing.

The YMCA where I live has been so supportive and helpful.

During my time here I recently started a fast-track A-level in Mathematics and I was later surprised that I needed to pay for exam fees, so I asked for staff members and they helped me fill out a form so I could get access to funding that could help pay for them.

My future has been looking brighter and brighter ever since joining the YMCA. I’m eternally grateful for all the staff and those who I don’t get to see that help us in any way possible to make sure we’re on the right paths.

In the future I wish to be an Astrophysicist. My goal is to get into university this year and get one step closer each time with obtaining a Masters and then achieving a PhD.

The advice I would give to anyone in my circumstance is to not be afraid to speak up or ask for help. I must admit this has been the hardest thing for me since I don’t talk much and like to keep to myself even when I’m suffering. At the YMCA, everyone is always and will always be here to help YOU. It’s not a burden to them, you’re not bothering them because they all really want to do their best to make sure you aren’t feeling stressed, anxious, depressed or anything you’re feeling at the time. They will make time for you, even if they are busy. You will never have to feel alone ever again.

We’re delighted to report that since this story was written, Susie has left YMCA DownsLink Group to start university. She’s happy for us to share the card she wrote to staff when she left.

Thank you so much for your gifts and card!!!  I want to thank everyone for being a part of my life and helping me come out of my shell and believe in me.  I had the greatest 3 years at the Y Centre and I hope someone else will also benefit as much as I did from all your care and support.

I’m wishing you all the best in your futures and hope you continue to put smiles on your own and everyone else’s face.  It’s been a blessing and pleasure thank you for having me as resident.

We can’t wait to see what her future holds.

Donate banner

More YMCA Stories

Image of Leo smiling with his arms crossed, wearing a beige jumper

Leo’s story

An incident at home led to a relationship breakdown between 17 year old Leo and his mum. His mum reached out for help from our Family Mediation Service as she was close to evicting him.

Rukshi’s story

Rukshi was left homeless at 20 and lost custody of her daughter during a couple of difficult years. She’s now living in our 24 hour supported accommodation and has begun to rebuild her life and her relationship with her daughter.
Alysha smiling in the Horsham Y Centre Garden

Alysha’s story

Alysha had a difficult childhood, full of arguments and tension, which led to her battling with her mental health. Thrown out at 17 with nowhere to go, she sofa surfed at friend’s houses until she was given a safe home with us.

YMCA enables people to develop their full potential in mind, body and spirit. Inspired by and faithful to our Christian values, we create supportive, inclusive and energising communities, where young people can truly belong, contribute and thrive.

Scroll to Top
Skip to content