ARE YOU HOMELESS, SOFA SURFING OR AT RISK?

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"I was feeling that there was no point in life before I came to Centrepoint. I wouldn’t have gone back to college or be going to university. I wouldn’t be alive."

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.

Cameron's Story

Difficult Beginnings

Cameron* had a difficult time growing up. His mum lost custody of him when he was younger. She suffered from schizophrenia and was unable to provide adequate care for him. Since then, social services tried to place Cameron with various family members, but sadly none of them worked out. As a teenager, Cameron ended up sofa surfing in inappropriate situations, which put him in danger.

“I was staying with someone I thought was a friend, but they weren’t. It was a toxic situation. I got paint stripper thrown in my eye and now I am partially blind in that eye. It wasn’t safe for me, but I had nowhere else to go. It was that or sleep on the streets,” he says.

“My so-called friend subjected me to physical and mental abuse. It was petrifying because they thought it was funny. I felt like I had no reason to live. If life was going to be like this, then what was the point?”

Centrepoint

Following an unsuccessful placement with his uncle, social services referred Cameron to Centrepoint where he met supported housing officers, Chantelle and Lee. They showed him around, helped him to settle in and told him about the expectations and structures in place to support him. Cameron says that without that support, he wouldn’t be where he is now.

“I wouldn’t have got back into college. I wouldn’t be going to university. I wouldn’t be alive,” he says. “I was just feeling that there was no point in life before I came to Centrepoint. The support from my support workers, Chantelle and Lisa, has been everything really. I could rely on them. It was the small things, like having someone to talk to, but Chantelle also helped me move house – she got me on the council waiting list, she helped me set up my Universal Credit. Everything.

“Before Centrepoint I didn’t have any stability,” Cameron adds. “I was in toxic situations with toxic people, living a toxic life. I was doing stuff I shouldn’t be doing, taking stuff I shouldn’t be taking, but that was because I didn’t have a secure place. When I moved to Centrepoint, I had that headspace; I had security. I wasn’t around those people. I had support. I had a reason to live so I could do something with my life.”

Moving On

Cameron recently moved into his own council property which has provided him with security and stability, and he has just started his degree. Lisa, Cameron’s floating support worker, has helped him secure a maintenance grant and he has been supported further by the Centrepoint bursary.

“It’s good that I have student finance, but it’s not enough to live on and go to university. Students need to buy books and laptops and if you don’t have family support, it’s difficult. Travel and rent is expensive. My washing machine broke just the other day so I was so grateful that I had the bursary money to cover that. The bursary is like a helping hand for me because student loans can’t cover everything.”

Cameron says that despite the challenges of starting a degree during a pandemic, he is looking forward to the future.
His advice to other young people is this:

“There is always hope. My partner always says to me, ‘There’s always a solution to a problem. Every problem can be overcome.’ There is no point in giving up.”

We are very proud of Cameron and wish him every success is his education and future endeavours.

*names have been changed

If you'd like to make a donation to Centrepoint and support young people like Cameron, please visit our donation page.

A young girl with no access. By supporting Centrepoint you can help homeless young people overcome their barriers

Centrepoint Bursary

No young person should be denied access to the opportunities they have fought so hard to earn. Sadly, for many homeless young people, this is the reality they face.

Having overcome so much to gain a university place, an apprenticeship or paid employment, basic costs such as course fees, equipment and travel can prove an insurmountable barrier.

And now, in times when so many more young people face a bleak future, your Bursary gift is needed more than ever. With the deadline for course entry drawing near, you can help with a life-changing gift today.

Bursary Appeal 2020

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