Young person smiling on a colourful residential street

Kyla's story: The bad times will pass

Kyla sought help from Centrepoint in 2018 when she was at breaking point after her baby son was adopted. The team in Manchester supported her with drug and alcohol counselling, mental health support and securing housing and benefits. Four years later, Kyla is in her own home, in the second year of university and teetotal. Here is her story in her own words.

Breaking point

I sought help from Centrepoint’s Homeless Prevention and Relief Service (HPRS) in Manchester in August 2018 when I found myself at breaking point.

I was going through an extremely difficult time. My son had just been adopted and I had been in a violent relationship. After that, I went off the rails. I had to leave my flat for having parties, which left me homeless. I was luckily enough able to sleep on the floor of friends flat. I stayed there for seven weeks. I knew that I needed help finding my own home, and my friend who I was staying with told me all about Centrepoint. This was when I sought out help and did an assessment in their office in Manchester.

Support from Centrepoint

Centrepoint were so supportive. They helped me move in to temporary accommodation. They supported me through with a court case with my son (appeal of the adoption), with managing bills, applying for Universal Credit and emotional support. When I first moved in, I was drinking many nights to mask the pain. I knew my life was better but I was still heartbroken from the loss of my son. Centrepoint offered me counselling and drug and alcohol support which helped me a tremendous amount. It took a lot of hard work and determination to stop drinking, but I did it! I have been teetotal for over two years – I couldn’t have done that without Centrepoint.

Looking back with a fresh perspective

I spent a long time angry with social services and the courts for taking away my son. I didn’t think it was fair. But looking back now, he wouldn’t have been safe in that situation. I have come to realise now that if my son had come home with me from the hospital after his birth, I couldn’t have given him everything that he has now, a stable and happy home and two loving parents. I am really happy that my son is thriving in a safe, warm home with many people around that love him very much.

Every year I get a letter from his adoptive parents and every Christmas I write back to him. He’s too young now, but one day he will get the chance to read those letters. Social services seem to have found the perfect match for him. He is in a musical family. His adoptive mother plays piano and he sits next to her singing, which of course make me smile lots. I look forward to the day when we might meet, but until then, I just wish him and his adoptive parents all the happiness and joy.

I am thankful to all the people who supported me. My life could have been very different without their support. I’m very happy now and managing financially. I recently moved out of temporary housing (that was offered to me from Centrepoint back in 2018), and into my own flat, which is safe and secure. I have managed to finish a music course at college and I am now in my second year at University studying Popular Music and Recording.

My love of music really started when I was eight-years-old and I started African drumming and singing lessons. I built up a really good relationship with the teacher and she really inspired me to pursue my love of playing and singing.  Eventually, I would like to become a music teacher and open my own music school. Right now,  I am just loving my course at university – I love how creating music helps me to relax and stay on the right path.

I feel like my life is in a good place now and I would never have imagined I would be where I am at now, four years ago. I am so grateful that Centrepoint were there when I needed them. The staff there were amazing and I was lucky to have their support.

To other young people in similar situations, I would say, keep going, don’t give up – the bad times will pass.

 We are so pleased that we could be there for Kyla when she needed us most and we are so impressed with how she has moved her life forwards.

*names have been changed to protect the young person’s identity