ARE YOU HOMELESS, SOFA SURFING OR AT RISK?

2020.12.02 Luke Banner V1

"I have done well, but I couldn't have managed it without Centrepoint's support."

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.

Here it is.

Luke's Story

My name is Luke and I’d like to tell my story as to why my support worker felt I’d earned the chance to win a Centrepoint Award.

I was 16 years old when me, my brother and sister were removed from our family home as my mam wasn’t looking after us properly, I was the unlucky one as I was placed with a foster family 30 minutes away from my home while my sister and brother got to stay with their dads. This was terrible for me as all I did was spend time in my room and wouldn’t interact with anyone as I was missing my family and friends so much, I didn’t know the area or anyone that lived there. When I was little, I was diagnosed as having Digeorge Syndrome. Some of the symptoms are: delayed early development; delayed speech, learning delays; behaviour problems and poor concentration. Unfortunately, growing up, I missed numerous health appointments, but once in Centrepoint my appointments were back on track which meant I was able to access the support I needed.

I moved to Centrepoint when I was 17 years old due to my foster placement breaking down. This was a massive step for me as I’d never lived semi-independently before; there was always someone there to cook, clean and shop. The main thing was that I was back in the area I grew up and could see my friends and family again.

When I first came to Centrepoint, I had no self-confidence at all, I couldn’t look at the staff when I spoke to them; I used to struggle to do things such as use the washing machine, cook, clean and shop, but I wouldn’t ask for help.

My support worker, Deanne, made me feel at ease and she would talk to me using words I could understand.  She would come shopping with me every week and help me budget my money in order to buy my food. She taught me how to use the washing machine and showed me how to keep my room clean and tidy. Once she had done these tasks with me a few times, I managed to do all of the tasks on my own and maintain them.

I was also really lucky to work with a volunteer who taught me cooking skills. My confidence and self-esteem grew so much through working with her. I really enjoyed being able to work with Davie-Lee and have her to talk to. I learned how to make loads of meals on my own and enjoyed sharing these with staff and other young people.  She really sparked my interest in cooking and encouraged me to study catering at college.

I started a catering course in a mainstream college and although I struggled with my Maths & English, my support worker worked with my tutor to support me and I’m now in my 2nd year at college, doing really well and loving it.  My concentration levels are so much better now; I’m retaining more information and my self-confidence has greatly improved too.

Deanne broke everything down for me and explained everything I had learned and achieved in my time at Centrepoint. I didn’t realise how far I had come, but now I get it and I agree I have done really well, but I couldn’t have managed it without Centrepoint. I’m so pleased and honoured to be awarded the Life Transformation Award 2020.

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