Young person sitting outside wearing a head scarf

Naira's Story: I felt like I couldn’t walk and Centrepoint helped me to run

In 2022 Naira (26) became homeless after escaping an abusive marriage. Centrepoint supported Naira into a home and employment . Over a year later, she is still in employment with Pret and thriving. 

Fleeing abuse and finding Centrepoint

When Naira became homeless in late 2022 after fleeing an abusive husband, she was terrified and had no idea who to turn to for support.

She stayed with a friend for a short period whilst she sought help from her local council and they put her in touch with Centrepoint for an assessment. 

John, her support worker at Centrepoint, was able to place her in a hotel whilst he found her temporary accommodation where she is still living now.

“John was amazing,” she says. ”I was in crisis and he helped get a roof over my head and some stability. He supported me with getting benefits and helped me to understand bills and develop important independent living skills.”

Once she was in stable accommodation, she was transferred to our floating support team in Manchester who support young people in managing their tenancy, finding employment and signposting to external services such as mental health teams if needed. Mark, Naira’s floating support working was able to connect Naira with Ben, one of Centrepoint’s CP Works trainers in Manchester. 

Pret Rising Stars

Naira says that getting the help from the CP Works team was life changing for her.

“I had shared with Mark that I was having difficult time with my current employer and it was causing me a lot of stress so he put me in touch with Ben who was amazing. He went above and beyond to help me; even spending time helping me improve my English reading. He got me on the Pret Rising Stars programme and I am still working there over a year later!”

Naira is loving her job at Pret, she says everyone is really friendly and she feels well supported.

“I’m enjoying my life there,” she enthuses. “I’m mainly in the kitchen, but I also do barista shifts serving customers. I am hoping to become a hot chef soon, which will be a big step up for me and a good opportunity. In my previous job, they never let me try new things, they didn't even give me a chance, but at Pret they help me progress.”

Grateful for support

Naira’s relationship with her support worker Mark has had a huge impact on her life and she is forever grateful to him and the rest of the Centrepoint staff team.

“I have a lot of words, but I don’t know how to explain how much he has helped me," she reflects.  "He is such a nice person and I feel so comfortable to share things with him. Mark is like a magic man who helps to sort out any problems young people might face. He always tries to find solutions to things. I am so grateful to him as he has helped me with so many things.”

 “I just want to say thank you so much for everything. I was someone who lost everything and had no idea what to do,” Naira explains. “When I stared this journey, I felt like I couldn’t walk and Centrepoint helped me to run. Before, I couldn’t talk to people and now I am so much stronger and confident now. I feel like I can do anything I want.”

Mark says of Naira, “I remember Naira when she first came to see me, her confidence was at an all-time low after the effects of domestic violence. But now Naira is ready to take on the world. I couldn’t be prouder of how far she has come.”