Young person playing the piano

Paul's story: Music is my escape

Paul (16) became homeless following a family breakdown and his social worker referred him to Centrepoint. Since being with Centrepoint, Paul has been supported to work on his anger and cut down his alcohol intake. He has started a course in music technology and been supported by the bursary with a keyboard to help him with his course. He is hoping to eventually study music at university in the future.

Taken into care

Paul was referred to Centrepoint when things reached breaking point at home.

“Things were really hard at home and my mum ended up kicking me out and that’s why I’m here now. My social worker referred me to Centrepoint via a Section 20.”

Since being at the service, Paul says he has had the space and time to focus on himself and figure out what he needs to move forward.

“I like it here. I feel I’m a lot better in myself. I can do my own thing and I have somewhere to calm down. I can concentrate on myself rather than worrying about all the other issues going on at home,” he reflects.

Growing independence

The Centrepoint service where Paul lives, is in a farmhouse just outside Bradford and is specifically for 16-18 year-olds. For many of the young people in this service, it’s their first taste of having to do things for themselves. Part of the job of the staff is to teach the young people some of those basic day-today life skills.

“I didn’t really know how to do anything like use a washing machine for example or other day to day living stuff like cooking,” says Paul. “They’ve really helped me get on top of all of that and teach me those skills I’ll need for independent living.”

Holistic support

Not only that, but Centrepoint were able to support Paul or signpost him to services to help him in other areas of need.

“They’ve helped me learn how to control my anger. When I first moved here, my drinking was horrendous and that’s got a lot better with the help here and the key work sessions. I worked with the Bridge Project. There’s a guy called Daniel who comes every Friday. Every time I’ve told him how much I drank at the weekend, he’s shocked that I’m not dead. I see it as I’m not a lightweight, I can drink as much as I want. He puts it into perspective and tells me about the damage it is doing which has helped me a lot.”

A love of music

Paul works 30 hours at a fast food restaurant and does 20 hours at college in his first year of a Level 2 Course in Music Technology which he is really enjoying.

“I’ve been doing music since I was in about year 8 and it was always a subject I loved. I really enjoy the course: my classmates are all really friendly and the tutors are good and I’m hoping to eventually go to uni to continue my studies in this area.”

Bursary support

Paul is passionate about producing dance music, but when he plays the piano, he prefers to play classical pieces. The Centrepoint Bursary has enabled Paul to purchase a keyboard for his room so he can learn the pieces for his assignments.

“We often get assignments where we have to learn a piece of music by heart. The pieces I choose are quite complex and I could only practise when I was in college. I really needed more hours to practise so having a keyboard at home has really helped me to be able to put more time into it.  I needed that specific one because it has a pedal and weighted keys like a real piano. It really helps me a lot and I am really grateful.”

For Paul, playing and producing music is a form of meditation.

“It’s my way of escaping the real world. I just go into my own world and forget everything.”

Moving on

Paul will go on the housing register when he is 17-and-a-half. He will stay at Centrepoint until he gets offered his own flat. He’s hoping a place will become available within six months of him turning 18, but if not, then he’s hoping he will be able to move into the independent annex attached to the service. This will give him a taste of living independently before moving out completely.

The staff at Centrepoint are so proud of the progress that Paul has made. Carol, the service managers, says:

“Despite being really busy with work and college, Paul also does drama with a local drama group. He’s fantastic with the younger ones and helps put on shows and the money goes back into the drama group. Paul is one of the oldest and he’s taken on the role of helping the younger ones and building up confidence and chaperoning. He doesn’t tell anyone about that, he’s quite modest and very talented,” she enthuses.

She goes on to say, “I think he’s matured so much since he’s been here. He has his moments where he feels like giving in, but we have a chat and he keeps going. Every day he pushes himself a little bit more. It’s amazing to see his resilience and drive when he has had so much to deal with at such a young age.”

We also think Paul is amazing and wish him the best of luck in his studies and for the future. We have no doubt that it will be a bright one.