Here's what it's like to make a major life change during a pandemic

27 November 2020

In the first of a series of blogs written by current and former residents, we meet Shannon Pink-Murphy who, with the support of Centrepoint, recently moved into her own place and started a foundation course at university - all in the midst of COVID-19. From Centrepoint resident to fashion student, here’s Shannon’s journey in her own words.

I moved into my own flat around six months ago. Before that, I lived in Centrepoint accommodation for around four years. I’ve had some ups and downs during that time, but with the patience and advice of Centrepoint staff, I soon learnt that it was important for me to have a goal and to work towards it – and when I did, they would always be ready to support me.

Sometimes, I feel like going through the system isn’t really spoken about - I hope this might actually help other people going through the process. When I first moved into my flat, I was very anxious and stressed – it was such a big step in my life. A bursary from Centrepoint allowed me to buy some furniture, which really helped me find my feet. Going through the system of being in hostels taught me how to be independent, from paying service charge to making sure my space is clean.

It didn’t take long for me to work out what I wanted my goal to be. Centrepoint helped me apply to university, which is one of my biggest successes. I started uni at the beginning of October. It’s still very new to me and there have been a lot of changes because of COVID-19.

Currently, my course is half-online and half face-to-face, which has been very interesting – it’s such a new experience for everyone. Because I am studying on a creative course, it’s a little bit more difficult to complete the work at home as I don’t have all the equipment needed. I’ve had to compromise a little bit, but that has helped me be more innovative and think outside the box.

In the future, I hope to use my creative skills to start a business helping young people who are disadvantaged or struggling with mental health issues to do something that allows them to express their own creativity in a safe and supported environment. My siblings and I have been separated because of the care system, and would attend ‘sibling camp’ when we were younger. The experience was great; we were able to enjoy so many different activities that really captured my imagination. I’d like to use the skills I’m developing now to do something similar for others.

With all that I’ve achieved in the last year, I feel like my story has been one of success. If you were to tell me three years ago where I am right now, I would have laughed in your face. I overcame many personal issues whilst at Centrepoint and I’m still being supported now through therapy. It’s helped me become the young person I am today.

Being supported by Centrepoint has really left a mark on my life and I can only thank everyone who helped me when I was there. I would also like to thank the young people living in the hostel with me. They became real friends to me, and I can happily say that they still are good friends to this day.

Centrepoint gave me a head start in life. Sometimes I find it hard to believe, but it motivates me to become something special, for all the people who helped me along the way. To those who read this: Thank you for listening to my story. I hope to tell more of my story in another blog. So, watch out for me!