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.
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.
Emilyn was a Centrepoint resident in 2007 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.
Sofia was brought to UK from Portugal by her Godmother when she was five years old following neglect and violence at home.
When the relationship with her Godmother also broke down, Sofia was referred to Centrepoint. She is currently living in a Centrepoint service for young parents and is studying to be a teacher with the help of Centrepoint’s bursary scheme. She has been nominated for the Centrepoint Personal Development Award.
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.
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 traineeship with a major media company.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
At just 17, Shannon was referred to Centrepoint when her foster placement broke down. Whilst with Centrepoint, Shannon was supported to finish college, complete an apprenticeship and apply to university. She has recently moved into her own flat and is about to start her degree in fashion design.
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.
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.
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 was recently selected for a Centrepoint Award.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Aged five, Zinnia’s mum kicked her and her dad out. Aged nine, Zinnia was placed into foster care.
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.
Jade had a turbulent time growing up. By the age of 17, she had not only experienced a suicide in her family, but also losing her mum. Barely coping with life, she spent time in and out of hospital due to alcohol and substance use, which was further impacting her already fragile mental health.
However, with courage and determination and the support of Stepping Stone Projects in Lancashire (one of Centrepoint’s partner organisations), Jade managed to make it 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 is expecting her second child.