ARE YOU HOMELESS, SOFA SURFING OR AT RISK?

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Real Homeless Stories

Centrepoint helps more than 14,000 homeless young people every year. With our support, they've overcome monumental obstacles and achieved amazing things.

Here are some of the real stories of Centrepoint young people and staff.

All real stories

Abdi's Story: Saved from Rough Sleeping

12 March, 2021

During the pandemic, Abdi* became homeless and was at risk of rough sleeping had Centrepoint's Homeless Prevention Service in Manchester not been able to place him in emergency accommodation. He is now settled, but looking forwards to restrictions easing so he can take his driving test and start working.

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Adam's Story: Struggling With Mental Health

03 March, 2020

Adam* was subjected to sexual, physical and emotional abuse growing up. Ten years after his dad went to prison, his mum suddenly threw him out.

Forced to live in his car, Adam was unable to keep up his job and dropped out of university, which left him feeling so desperate he attempted suicide.  

Centrepoint found Adam a home, a GP, where he received a diagnosis for depression, and a psychiatrist, enabling him to talk about his trauma for the first time in his life. Adam now lives in shared accommodation, is back at work and planning to return to university to complete his studies.  

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Adele's Story: Bullying Made Life Impossible

23 March, 2021

Adele suffered bullying, mental ill-health and family breakdown. With Centrepoint's support, she is on the road to recovery.

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Aidan's Story: Escaping Arranged Marriage

26 March, 2018

Aidan left home when he was 20 because he was being forced into an arranged marriage.

Today, He's working towards becoming a feature film director and producer.

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Alex's Story: My mantra is, it’s not about me, it’s about you

25 September, 2020

Alex has worked as a supported housing officer in Sunderland since April 2018. Prior to that, she was a prevention worker as part of a pilot project and also had responsibility for the youth educators programme. This was aimed at raising awareness and tackling misconceptions surrounding homelessness. Before she worked at Centrepoint, she worked in further education for 20 years.

Here she shares her wealth of experience in working closely with vulnerable, young adults.

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Ali's Story: Becoming Himself

21 October, 2020

Ali, 18, came to the UK as an unaccompanied minor. He was fleeing persecution for both his religion and his sexuality. Originally from Iran, Ali had lived in the Republic of Georgia where he converted to the Baha’i Faith which was forbidden in Iran. Once in the UK, he also came out as gay and is currently seeking asylum on the basis of his sexuality. He is currently studying A-level sciences and hopes to eventually go to university to study in the field of neuroscience.

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Becca's story: Football changed my life

08 March, 2019

Becca became street homeless after coming out as gay.

Here she tells us how our football programme c…

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Ben's Story: Homeless at Christmas

20 March, 2018

On Christmas Day, Ben went to hospital with chronic pain and was diagnosed with sciatica. To make matters worse, a relative visited him and told him he couldn’t go home.

Now Ben has moved on and is in the process of setting up his own business.

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Bethany's Story: Determination Moved Me Forwards

25 May, 2021

Bethany grew up in care from age 11 after her grandmother passed away. She became pregnant at 16, but completed her GCSEs and A-Levels and she is now managing parenting with a full-time degree in International Public and Social Policy at the LSE with financial support from the Centrepoint bursary.

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Brookemorgan's Story: Legs to Stand On

29 October, 2019

Brookemorgan was housed by Centrepoint for two years. It was here, she says, that she was given the "breathing space" to become independent. 

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Cameron's Story: Every Problem Has a Solution

22 October, 2020

Cameron, 19, was referred to Centrepoint following a family breakdown. He sofa surfed for a year before social services placed him in the care of a relative. This turned out to be an inappropriate placement for Cameron and he made contact with social services who placed him in a Centrepoint hostel. After a year, Centrepoint have supported Cameron into his own flat and he has now started a degree at university. He eventually wants to go into teaching.

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Cara's Story: Homeless in the Noughties

19 June, 2019

Cara ended up at Centrepoint in the early noughties after leaving her family home due to her dad’s deteriorating mental health. Centrepoint helped enable Cara to change her story.

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Carol and Pat's Story: Young People are Fantastic!

25 September, 2020

Carol Cordingley is the deputy service manager at one of Centrepoint’s therapeutic services near Bradford and has been with the organisation for four and a half years. Here, she works with Patrick Hollinger, a supported housing officer who has been at the service since its fruition over five years ago.

In this interview, they share their combined 32-year experience of working with young people.

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Cassie's Story: Support with Mental Health

13 November, 2020

After a relationship breakdown with her mum, Cassie sofa surfed before approaching her local council and requesting a referral to Centrepoint.

Centrepoint staff have supported Cassie with her mental health, university application and her move on into independence. She has just begun a degree in Fine Art and has moved into her own flat. 

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Catherine's Story: An Advocate for Change

19 August, 2016

After struggling with homelessness and experiencing mental health problems, Catherine took control of her life.

Now she’s in a safe place of her own, growing in confidence and determined to help others.

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Chris's Story: Leading by Example

02 July, 2019

Chris is our Operations Manager in Barnsley and has been working with vulnerable people for over 18 years. 

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Christian's Story: An Inspiration to Others

09 December, 2020

Christian, 23, was recently nominated for – and won – the Centrepoint Partners Inspiration Award. Ria, a support worker who worked for Broxtowe Youth Homelessness, nominated Christian because, despite extremely difficult experiences, she says Christian was able to turn his life around and through volunteering, inspired not only the young people they support, but the staff too.

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Dale's Story: Developing as a Leader

12 July, 2021

Dale’s Centrepoint journey has been long and multifaceted. It started when he was just 17. He is now 23, has graduated with a first class honours degree in Sociology and Criminology and has recently moved into one of our independent living properties. He is also representing Centrepoint in the British Youth Council’s Youth Leadership Programme.

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Darren's Story: Resident to Trustee

11 December, 2019

Darren became a Centrepoint resident aged 19 back in 2005 following a communication breakdown with his family. After leaving Centrepoint, he worked for a number of year as a youth worker. He has since written a book called Power of 21 to help young people break into creative industries. He has recently become a Centrepoint trustee.

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Dineer's Story: Working During the Pandemic

15 July, 2020

Dineer* is 20 years old and became a Centrepoint resident in January. During lockdown, she became a keyworker herself, working as a chef at a major hospital in South West London. Here she talks about her experiences during the pandemic and her hopes to start her own business in the future.

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Dolores's Story: Positive Impact on Young People

16 November, 2020

Dolores Hamilton has been with Centrepoint for four years, but has worked with young people for a lot longer. She is a floating support worker and works specifically with care leavers between 16-18 years old. Here she tells us about her role and working with young people.

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Ebby's Story: My Key Worker Changed Things For Me

18 August, 2020

When Ebby became pregnant at 17, she was unable to continue living with her mum. She sofa-surfed with extended family members until eventually she was referred to a hostel for young parents. She describes her relationship with her keyworker as instrumental in her turning things around.

Ebby has recently moved into her own flat with her son and has enrolled on a social work course at college.

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Elise's Story: A Safe Haven

06 September, 2019

Elise went through the care system and came to Centrepoint when she was 18. With Centrepoint’s support, she secured a place at university and completed her degree. 

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Elliott's Story: Physical Work is Therapeutic

11 May, 2021

After studying dance at college, Elliott secured a scholarship in New York. However, poor mental and physical health meant he had to return to London and he ended up unemployed. Then the pandemic hit. Through Centrepoint's training team, Elliott has completed a construction traineeship, which he loved, and is now moving on to start an apprenticeship.

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Elly's Story: STUDIO Arts Programme

05 November, 2019

Elly-Michele has been a Centrepoint resident for two years since leaving care. She recently took part in the first of the Centrepoint arts engagement projects -  STUDIO, and had her work exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery. This has given her a creative platform and the confidence to continue developing her artistic talents.

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Emilyn's Story: Supporting Others Helped me Heal

23 July, 2019

Emilyn was a Centrepoint resident in 2006 after her mental health deteriorated. Whilst living with Centrepoint, she received support from her keyworker and the learning team, which eventually lead her to university. Emilyn now works for the UK's leading charity for social integration. 

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Gareth's Story: Dreaming of Being a PE Teacher

15 August, 2019

Gareth found himself homeless after finishing University. With Centrepoint's Support, Gareth is now in his own place and recently won a Centrepoint Award. He has a full time job with the DofE and hopes to one day become a PE Teacher.

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Gary's Story: Gay and Homeless in the 90s

01 July, 2019

Gary became homeless in the early 90s after being disowned by his family for being gay. After a period of rough sleeping he sought help from Centrepoint, where he built up the courage to come out and have pride in who he is.

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Georges' Story: A Future Leader

21 March, 2018

After suffering physical abuse from his mum, Georges became homeless.

Centrepoint supported Georges into independence and he is now working with children a fitness instructor and training to become a leadership coach.

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Helen's Story: A Full Circle

03 October, 2019

Dr Helen Miles is Centrepoint’s new Lead for Psychologically Informed Environments (PIE). Coincidentally, she also volunteered for Centrepoint for 20 years, at one of our ‘off the street’ winter shelters in Central London.

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Jack's story: Homeless at Sixteen

06 December, 2018

At just 13, Jack's family life became unbearable.

But when he came to Centrepoint, he was offered emotional support and a safe place to stay. 

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Jade's Story: Nobody's Responsibility

17 January, 2020

By the age of 17, Jade had experienced a suicide in her family and also lost her mum. Barely coping with life, she spent time in and out of hospital due to alcohol and substance use, which further impacted her already fragile mental health.

With courage and determination and the support of Stepping Stone Projects in Lancashire (one of Centrepoint’s partner organisations), Jade went to university, achieving a first class degree. Since graduating, Jade has supported other vulnerable young people as a homelessness officer and a substance use worker. Jade lives with her son and partner and baby daughter.

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Jake's Story: Hoping to Become a Celebrity Hairstylist

09 June, 2021

Jake became homeless after coming out as gay to his mum, who subsequently felt uncomfortable with him living at home. After living in temporary accommodation for a number of months, Jake was referred to Centrepoint in December 2020 and has recently been supported by the Bursary scheme to buy hairdressing equipment for his apprenticeship.

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Jamie's Story: Moving Upwards

28 June, 2019

Jamie sought help from Centrepoint on four different occasions over a period of six years, which gave her some stability amongst the chaos. Jamie has now moved on from Centrepoint and has recently completed her Masters in Dance.

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Jasmin's Story: An Inspirational Woman

12 August, 2020

Jasmin is a Rohingya refugee and spent much of her childhood in a refugee camp in Bangladesh before being granted asylum in the UK.

She has overcome so many barriers in her life, but sport was always something that made her feel good. Last year through Centrepoint, she took part in the Street Child Cricket World Cup, and since then has been named one of the BBC's 100 Women of 2019.

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Jay's Story: This Pandemic Changed my Life

20 April, 2021

Worsening narcolepsy combined with a global pandemic meant that Carl found himself homeless after having to defer his university course. With alternative options of staying with extended family limited due to Covid, he sofa surfed for a brief period before seeking help from Centrepoint.

Things are looking up for Carl, find out more by reading his story.

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Jen's Story: At School and Homeless

26 March, 2020

Jen* became homeless at 16 following a relationship breakdown with her mum. For two weeks in the dead of winter, Jen sofa-surfed or wandered the streets desperately trying to find somewhere to keep warm.

Eventually, Jen was referred to Centrepoint’s therapeutic service for 16-18 year olds in a farmhouse outside Bradford. While initially reluctant to accept help, one year later she’s thriving and looking forward to going back to college.

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Jeremiah's Story: Gay and Homeless

03 January, 2019

Aged 22, Jeremiah was thrown out of his home after his father refused to accept that he was gay.

But after coming to Centrepoint, he’s now hoping to return to university to complete his degree in Information Systems.

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Jess's story: A Resident in the 90s

19 June, 2019

When Jess’s mum kicked her out when she was just 16, she ended up at Centrepoint. She then moved through three of Centrepoint’s services during the 1990s. Jess now has a family of her own and works for the NHS.

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John's story: Sleeping Rough at 15

12 December, 2016

John had a troubled and unstable childhood. His father suffered with mental illness and his mother was abusive - his earliest memory is of her kicking him in the stomach. He was regularly sleeping rough at just 15 years old.

Since coming to Centrepoint, he's been able to work through those issues with the support of our counsellors. Having a safe room has meant he can focus again and even get back into education.

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Jordan's Story: A Rising Star

03 March, 2020

Jordan, 24, has struggled with homelessness for the past three years, and spent eight months on the streets in 2019. Centrepoint have provided Jordan with a support worker, drug counsellor and mental health worker as well as offering him the opportunity to get involved with arts and drama programmes, which he says have made a huge impact on his life. Jordan has recently been nominated for the  Centrepoint Rising Star Award.

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Josh's story: A Passion for Sport

13 February, 2018

Josh had a difficult childhood and was put in to care in his early teens.  

His passion for sport and dedication to his studies meant he was the winner of the Education Award at the Centrepoint Awards 2018.

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Kai's story: Life after Death

18 September, 2019

When he 17, Kai's father passed away. Little did he know, life was about to get even harder. Read his compelling story here.

 

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Keith's Story: I'm a Wise Dinosaur

18 August, 2020

Keith started working for Centrepoint in 2017 following a 20-year career supporting families for other organisations. Currently he supports young parents in Greenwich. Here he tells us why he loves working with young people and children.

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Kerry's Story: A Resident in the 70s

05 June, 2019

Kerry came to Centrepoint in the 1970s after running away from home and ending up homeless on the streets of London. She was just 14 years old.

Forty years later, Kerry sponsors a room at Centrepoint to help other homeless young people.

Here is her story.

 

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Lewis's Story: A Winning Design for House of Vans

18 November, 2020

Lewis 19, lives at a Centrepoint hostel in Central London where he has been since he left care at 18. He is studying game design and recently won a House of Vans competition with Centrepoint to design a skateboard.

His skateboard, along with others designed by famous artists such as Grayson Perry will be part of a virtual auction hosted by The Auction Collective to raise vital funds for homeless young people.  

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Lisa's Story: Homeless in the 1980s

19 June, 2019

Lisa sought help from Centrepoint’s night shelter when she experienced a period of homelessness after leaving care in the 1980s. The help that Lisa received from Centrepoint and other organisations helped change her story. Today, Lisa works with agencies and organisations working with children and families around trauma and resilience.

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Liz and Angeline's Story: Volunteer Support

12 November, 2020

Volunteers are the lifeblood of Centrepoint and have been from our early beginnings. Their time, knowledge and kindness are vital to the important work we do supporting young people. 

One of our volunteers, Liz, has been working with Angeline for three years and has supported her through some difficult transitions.

Here is their story.

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Lola's Story: Cooking up a Storm

17 January, 2020

Lola grew up in care from the age of four. During her teenage years, she became immersed in gang culture. After a number of abusive relationships, Lola ended up escaping her area and was referred to Centrepoint, enrolling on a number of courses and programmes provided by the organisation. She's now very close to completing her hospitality traineeship with a major media company. 

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Lorna's Story: I Knew I Wanted to Help People

08 March, 2021

Lorna is a supported housing officer in Keighley and has worked for Centrepoint for six-and-a-half years. In her own words, she talks about her job, the challenges of lockdown, homelessness prevention and young people’s mental health.

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Luke's Story: Life Transformation Award

03 December, 2020

Luke, 19, has overcome many barriers in his life and was nominated by his support worker, Deanne, for the Centrepoint Life Transformation Award. With Deanne's support, Luke has written his story in his own words.

 

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Malik's Story: Learning to See the Bigger Picture

30 March, 2021

Malik was struggling with his sense of identity and a relationship breakdown with his parents meant he became homeless. Since being at Centrepoint, Malik has made new friends, been given valuable advice, started an apprenticeship and now moved into his own home. This is his journey in his own words.

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Mari's: Story: A Support Network

01 July, 2019

Mari was a Centrepoint resident in 1997, after being thrown out of home as a teen when the relationship with her mother broke down. Not only did Centrepoint provide Mari with a roof over her head, they also provided a support network that she relied on for many years after.

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Matt's Story: Homeless to Hostel Manager

15 September, 2016

Matt manages a few of Centrepoint's London hostels. He was homeless himself when he came to London aged 15.

Volunteering at a hostel led to a job at Centrepoint - he's now been with us for 14 years.

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Maureen's story: Making a Difference

27 June, 2019

Maureen started working for Centrepoint in November 2003 as a Resettlement Officer and is now the Service Manager at one of our services in Camden. To mark our 50th anniversary, she reflects on working for Centrepoint and the changes over the years.

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Michelle's Story: Supporting Young People

15 September, 2020

Michelle has worked for Centrepoint for almost three years and currently works as a supported housing officer in our young parent’s service in Sunderland.

Before Centrepoint, Michelle worked with adults with disabilities and learning difficulties. She says it was the care an ex-partner was given that inspired her to go into support work.

Here Michelle tells us about why she enjoys working with young people.

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Millie and Katie's Story: Sisters Together

24 June, 2021

Sisters Millie* (21) and Katie* (24) came to Centrepoint together during the pandemic; Katie making the move to support her younger sister with her anxiety. They have both been supported by the Centrepoint Bursary Scheme which has funded Millie’s beauty therapy course and Katie’s TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course.

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Miriam's Story: Support from the Bursary

08 August, 2018

Miriam had a normal life until her family started pressuring her to get married. She had no choice b…

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Morgan's Story: Breaking the Cycle

28 July, 2020

Following a family break up and subsequent mental ill-health, Morgan, 22, dropped out of university and ended up homeless. After a period of sofa-surfing and rough sleeping, Morgan was referred to Night Stop and later Centrepoint where he started on his road to recovery. He now volunteers as a youth advocate within Centrepoint.

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Nadia's Story: Fleeing Persecution

19 June, 2019

At just 17, Nadia was forced to flee Ethiopia because of persecution for her political beliefs. After some years in Newcastle, where she felt alone and isolated, she made her way to London. She spent three months homeless in the capital before she was finally referred to Centrepoint. 

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Nathaniel's story: Becoming a Scientist

12 March, 2019

In his own words, Nathaniel explains how he came to Centrepoint and how our Bursary scheme helped hi…

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Peter's Story: Homeless for 25 Years

13 June, 2019

Peter first came to Centrepoint in the early 1970s after leaving the army with a medical discharge at just 16-years-old. Feeling neglected by his family, he felt he had no choice but to leave home. He spent the next 25 years homeless.

Here is his story.

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Ramona's Story: I Chose to Live

03 March, 2020

Ramona suffered with her mental health as a child and was sectioned when she was just 11. Her condition wasn’t diagnosed until much later, but since receiving a formal diagnosis and escaping an abusive relationship, she has been able to take control of her life and is excelling at her studies. She is now having regular therapy and appropriate medication for her condition and looking forwards to studying Biological Science at university.

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Sarah's Story: Self-Harming to Cope

03 January, 2019

Sarah came to Centrepoint after her mental health spiralled out of control and she was not able to stay in the family home.

But thanks to our support, she's now focusing on her recovery and building up her self-esteem.

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Simon's Story: Business Development Manager

21 August, 2019

Simon started as a Supported Housing Officer at a direct access service run by Centrepoint in 2008. He now uses his Centrepoint skills and experience in his role as Business Development Manager.

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Sofia's Story: Training to be a Teacher

12 August, 2019

When the relationship with her carer broke down, social services referred Sofia to Centrepoint. She was a resident in a Centrepoint service for young parents, working and  studying to be a Montessori teacher with the help of Centrepoint’s bursary scheme. She recently won the Centrepoint Personal Development Award and has moved into her own flat with her son.

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Stephen's Story: Helping Young People

13 August, 2019

Stephen understands what it’s like to be young and homeless: he lived in a hostel for three years from the age of 17. He now works as a supported housing officer in one of our Barnsley services. He’s been working at Centrepoint since October 2018.

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Steve's Story: Resident to Room Sponsor

20 June, 2019

Steve had a comfortable middle class background, but his home life was turbulent. At the age of 18 he was made homeless and travelled to London where he sofa surfed with a friend before he eventually sought help from Centrepoint. We were able to provide him with emergency accommodation at the night shelter and later, a studio flat where he was able to develop his independence.

Today, Steve works in housing and is one of our room sponsors.

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Tam's Story: Building Confidence Through Sport

30 January, 2020

Tam is a former Centrepoint service user. Her story of homelessness began when her family discovered her sexuality. After coming out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, some family members became uncomfortable, and eventually asked her to leave home. 

Tam received support from Centrepoint in Manchester and benefited greatly from Centrepoint's sports programmes.

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Tamara's story: The Best Mum She Can Be

13 February, 2018

With support and a lot of dedication, Tamara turned her life around.

Growing in confidence, Tamara won the Personal Development Award at the Centrepoint Awards 2018.

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Tania's Story: Caring for Others

17 June, 2021

Tania* was thrown out of her parents’ home after suffering from verbal and emotional abuse. She sofa-surfed with a friend for a short period before being referred to Centrepoint, where she received the support she needed to move on to independence and has recently started working as a care assistant at a residential care home.

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Tasha's Story: Acing Her Apprenticeship

30 November, 2020

Tasha came to Centrepoint through social services when her foster placement broke down at age 16. 

With the support of her key worker Carol, she began to thrive. She took up an apprenticeship with a national bank in which she excelled.

Tasha recently turned 18, moved into her own flat and is working full time. She recently won a Centrepoint Award in recognition of all her hard work.

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Terence's Story: Three Decades with Centrepoint

21 June, 2019

Terence started as a volunteer at Centrepoint in November 1993. He spent a number of years working in services and twenty-five years later he is still here, working as a Rota and Purchasing Officer in the housing department. Here, he shares his reflections from three decades of working for Centrepoint.

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Tien's story: A Terrifying Journey

20 February, 2018

When Tien arrived in London, she was scared, sick, tired and all alone.

But thanks to her support worker Antonia, Tien is now thriving in her new home at Centrepoint.

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Tom's Story: Finding His Voice

26 March, 2021

Initially scared to accept help with his mental health, Tom eventually found sanctuary at Centrepoint and received wrap around support which enabled him to to take the steps towards independence. He has now moved on into his own flat.

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Zahra's Story: I Felt Like a Prisoner

21 October, 2020

Zahra came to the UK earlier this year just before lockdown to join her husband following an arranged marriage. She was 19 years old at the time. When things took an unexpected turn following her arrival, Zahra was referred to Centrepoint and has been with the organisation since August and is beginning to rebuild her life.

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Ziggy's Story: In His Own Words

05 November, 2020

Ziggy had a difficult journey before he came to Centrepoint - homelessness, drugs and crime. He embarked on a roller coaster ride of sleeping in unsafe places like bus shelters and falling in with a bad crowd, which led to run-ins with the police.

Seven years since leaving Centrepoint, Ziggy, now 29, got in touch with us wanting to share his story in his own words. Here it is.

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Zinnia's Story: A Traumatic Childhood

19 December, 2017

Zinnia talks about overcoming the trauma of a turbulent childhood and homelessness. Read her story here.

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