Adele* was a victim of sustained bullying; the effects of which were deep and varied. Not only did it mean that Adele was too afraid to go to school and complete her GCSE’s, but it also took its toll on her family and home life. At age 20, Adele could no longer live at home and found sanctuary at a Centrepoint hostel where she received support with her mental health and her journey into independence.
The effects of bullying
For years Adele, 21, was a victim of bullying. It started when she was 11 and continued into adulthood.
Often, she was too scared to go to school and as a result, she missed out on much of her education and was unable to complete her GCSEs.
“I just hated school and I used to beg my mum not to make me go. School was non-stop bullying. They used to wait for me after school and attack me physically and mentally when I did go to school,” she laments.
Problems at home
The bullying wasn’t only confined to school, but also followed Adele home. The girls used to sit opposite Adele’s house taunting her. It went on for years and was so severe that the family were forced to move house.
“They used to shout up to my window and make fun of my self-harming. It got to the point where I never used to leave the house. I’d stay in my room and wouldn’t leave,” Adele admits.
Unsurprisingly, the situation caused friction at home and Adele would regularly argue with her mum.
“All this stuff used to make me and my mum argue a lot. My mum had her bad days too and she would take it out on me,” she remembers.
“I’ve got two brothers, they’re teenagers now, but back then, they were younger and my granny was also living with us. She was really poorly and had to sleep downstairs and it affected the whole family.”
Even after they moved, the problems continued until it reached the point where Adele felt she could no longer live at home.
She sought help from the local authority, but felt that she was going round in circles.
“I felt like I kept getting pushed to the side,” she says. “I was used to keeping everything inside so I struggled a lot having to repeatedly explain my situation and get nowhere.”
“Because of the arguments with my mum, I was going to my sister’s every other day. I felt bad because my sister has three kids and was struggling herself. I felt like I was getting nowhere with housing, but then one day I got a call from Annalida from a Centrepoint hostel. She came that same day so I could take a look round. It caused extra strain initially with my mum because she wasn’t expecting it and it was hard for her to see me go. But I just couldn’t take it mentally at home anymore so I decided to take the place at the hostel.”
Support from Centrepoint
When she first moved in, Adele found the transition difficult, but the staff at the hostel made her feel safe.
“On that first day, they put me at ease and told me that I’d be okay. At first, I was worrying about my mum a lot and thinking about what she would be feeling, but after a little while, I got used to things. I was in my own little space and there were no arguments and I just felt better because of that,” she remembers.
Slowly, as time went on, Adele started to feel like herself again.
“I started to go downstairs more often and chat to Bev and Anna who worked at the service. It was nice to feel like someone was really supporting me. I felt safe knowing that they were there in the office from 9-5 because I knew that if I needed to speak to someone, all I had to do was to go downstairs," she says.
“They never judged me. I know I could tell them anything and they would give me good advice. Just speaking to them build up my confidence, it made me stronger.”
Bev and Anna also got Adele some mental health support and referred her for therapy sessions with one of Centrepoint’s dedicated psychotherapists.
“At first I didn’t really feel like I wanted it, but I thought I’d give it a go. I started having sessions with Amrita. She’s helped me so much and now I feel so much better in myself. I pour my heart out to her and it’s fine if I have a little cry. To feel like someone’s listening to you makes such a difference,” she enthuses.
Preparing for independence
A few months ago, Adele moved into her own place. The staff team at Centrepoint helped prepare Adele by doing Lifewise modules with her which included budgeting; health and safety and managing a tenancy.
Bev also helping Adele fill out her paperwork and accompanied her on viewings. When she was ready to move in, Centrepoint provided her a new home pack with pillow, blankets and things for the kitchen such as a kettle and a set of pans.
“It was so nice to get that because I had nothing and it made it feel like home. Bev even helped me get an advance payment and I got a voucher to buy things for my home. They helped me so much. The little things meant so much," she remembers.
“I was a bit nervous about moving out on my own, but they just took me through things step by step at my own pace. Now I’m in my own little home and I can’t believe how far I’ve come.”
Adele still receives floating support from Centrepoint for six months after she moves on.
“ I still have Anna’s support and I have sessions with Amrita once a week to help me with this transition. I’m slowly starting to find myself. I’ve learnt how to talk and get things out of my system rather than bottle it up. I look back and think, wow, I never imagined myself being here. I feel so good having my own space.”
With that space and perspective, the relationship between Adele and her mum has had the chance to heal.
“The bond between me and my mum is so much stronger now. We’re close now like best friends. I might not speak to her every day, but we don’t argue anymore at all.”
“If I hadn’t have come to Centrepoint, I really don’t know where I’d be today. I don’t know what I would have done without their support.”
Adele hopes to find a job and move out of her area and leave the bad memories behind her.
"I really want to go and work, but something is holding me back because I’m still living in fear. However, I’m slowly working on it and making progress.”
“I don’t want to be sat around doing nothing. I want to work and get out of here. I want to save and save and get out of this area. I want a job I enjoy and a fresh start.”
We are so impressed by the progress that Adele has made and we wish her all the best for the future.
*names have been changed