Young person in black hoodie standing against a brick wall. Tamsin Clements

Addi's Story: I was labelled as naughty, but now I understand myself

Addi (22), who is neurodivergent,  became homeless following a family breakdown. Since living in a Centrepoint service, he has been supported in a variety of ways: training, mental health, physical fitness and diet. He is feeling much stronger and will soon be moving on into his own flat.

Becoming Homeless

Addi explains that before he became homeless, he felt like he was wasting his life. 

“I felt like I was doing nothing and going nowhere. I was sitting in my room all day acting out. . My mental health was really poor – it had been deteriorating for a while after some very difficult personal issues and the relationship with my mum had reached breaking point. Eventually, she couldn’t deal with me anymore and kicked me out.”

Addi sofa surfed with friends for a short time, but found it difficult.

“I felt like a loser and like I was imposing on their space. Even though they said it was okay, it just didn’t feel good.”

Addi’s mum helped him to approach the local council for help and a few days later, they referred him to a Centrepoint service.

Since then, Addi has been supported in numerous ways. He has been able to access cooking, construction training and psychotherapy, as well as fitness and dietary support through our Activities Team. This is in addition to the support from his key worker who has helped nurture his independent living skills and been an encouraging voice. He says all of these things have been immensely helpful.


Before arriving at Centrepoint, Addi couldn’t cook at all, but thanks to our in-house hospitality trainer Sarah, he understands nutrition and can cook proper meals.

“I was living on ready meals before I started working with Sarah. I’ve learnt so much from her. I’ve learnt knife skills and loads of recipes that I can cook myself. It’s made me eat much healthier and it’s also boosted my confidence.”

Not only that, but he’s also found it good fun.

“She’s a laugh,” he jokes. “She’s even got me into rock music. She makes the sessions really fun.”

Sarah is just as complimentary about Addi.

“I met Addi at the beginning of his learning journey with CP Works. It’s been great to watch him grow in confidence and share the journey with him; he has shown commitment and determination even in the tasks he found difficult throughout his time working with me and his apple crumbles are very yummy!"


Addi is also working towards his CSCS card and a job in construction with our employability trainer Stephen. 

“I want to get into painting and decorating,” he says. “Hopefully, I’ll pass the exam and then I can start a potential apprenticeship.”

“Stephen has been a great teacher,” says Addi. “He goes over everything to make sure we understand and helps signpost us to good revision sources as well as just generally checking in with me. His lessons are fun and detailed”

Stephen says, “It has been a pleasure to work with Addi and see him develop into a fine young man. Realising you have to make changes in your life is never an easy thing to do, and Addi should be really proud of this and all he has achieved recently. He has developed key qualities that will help him to be successful in life".


Having in-house support with his mental health has been refreshing for Addi who felt that for a long time, he didn’t get the support he needed until he was at crisis point. 

“I had a bit of support from CAMHs when I was younger, but it didn’t really help – they just said I was sleep deprived, but didn’t get to the root of what was going on,” he explains. “It took a complete breakdown when I was 18 for mental health services to get involved.”

At Centrepoint, Addi has had over eight months support from one of our in-house psychotherapists.

“I feel like I’m able to properly communicate with him. He deciphers the problem and helped me to figure out that somewhere deep down I didn’t really like myself, but I can change that mindset and how I feel about myself. It’s been so helpful. I’m able to regulate my emotions, understand myself better and like myself more.”

Managing his personal challenges

Addi has been diagnosed with ADHD, autism and borderline personality disorder. “My ADHD makes my head zoom around and my autism would make me want to keep to myself so it’s difficult to balance.” It caused him a lot of problems at school. “Before my diagnosis, people used to label me as a bad kid. I was bullied. People used to say ‘he’s not normal, he’s different’, but now that I understand where it stems from was labelled as the naughty kid, it helps me to accept and advocate for myself.” 

Working with the Activities Team

The Activities team at Centrepoint provide young people with a range of opportunities spanning across a wide range of interests, with a particular focus on creativity and sport. One of these are PT sessions which are held at the service where Addi lives.

“I found them really helpful,” says Addi. Before I used to be a lot bigger than I am now. I learnt nutrition facts and also exercises for my body type. The trainer is like a drill sergeant, but I still go back, it’s fun. They give me a lot of encouragement and help me keep motivated.”

Support from his key worker

Addi says that the support from his key worker Celina has been instrumental in helping him progress and it helps that they 'get on like a house on fire.'

“We both come from the same culture, West Indies. We talk to each other in that accent and have a laugh and talk about music. We have a lot of fun and I know I can talk to her about anything and ask for help if I’m struggling. She’s helped me get onto courses; with my housing applications; she makes sure I have a travelcard if I need to get somewhere and she's also helped me with budgeting and getting direct debits set upa s well as helping me register with the GP and helping me to get a Freedom pass. She’s been there to help me with everything. Just having conversations with her every day makes a big difference. Just the “hello, how are you doing?”, “You’ve done so well.” Those things really stick with me. The encouragement helps me to believe in myself. Sometimes my mental health makes me feel like I can’t live but when someone tells me that I’m doing so well, it does give me that momentary respite".

Celina has been really impressed by how far Addi has come in the eight months. 

‘It’s been a pleasure to work with Addison,” she says. “He will often say that it’s because of our help, but I tell him ‘all we do is give you a push, you do the work, it’s all you!’. Addi has a can-do attitude. He is hardworking, polite and ambitious. I’ve really enjoyed our client-worker relationship.”

For Addi, his personal transformation has been immense. “I’m a lot happier. I don’t feel like a loser anymore. I’m doing things and I’m more confident in myself that I can live on my own. I can be myself essentially.”

He also explains that having the space to grow at Centrepoint has also helped repair the relationship with his mum. 

“The relationship is a lot better,” he reflects. “We are not on top of each other constantly. We’re not having terrible arguments and I will go over there every two weeks or so.”

Aspirations for the future

Addi’s aspirations for the future are simple. “I want a stable place, a job and to have momentum. I want to make sure my family are okay and looked after. I would love to be able to help support them financially.”

His advice to others is to “keep pushing, keep humble. Things are quite hard at the start, but keep going through the darkness before you see the light.”

Addi has just passed his CSCS test. He is about to start bidding for his own property with the support of his key worker Celina and hopefully will find employment soon. We wish him all the very best for his future