ARE YOU HOMELESS, SOFA SURFING OR AT RISK?

2020.12.17 Natasha Web Banner

"If I hadn't been referred to Centrepoint, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now.”

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

At first, she felt angry and alone, but 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 for her unwavering commitment and inspirational work ethic.

Tasha's Story

Tasha went into foster care when she was just a baby and lived with the same family for 16 years. However, as she reached her teens, things became difficult: Tasha was beginning to rebel and disengage from school. Things soon deteriorated, and eventually the foster placement broke down.

“My mum was going through menopause and I was going through puberty. My Grandma also got ill so there was a lot going on,” she remembers. 

Moving into Centrepoint

At first, Tasha felt rejected, but since being with Centrepoint she has been able to develop perspective and understanding.

“Now I think it was for the best, because I relied a lot on my mum before and since being here I’ve developed a lot of independence." she reflects. “Before I came here, I knew I could get away with stuff. I didn’t show up for school, I’d be late. It would just stress everyone out. I never cleaned my room, or did my washing. I just didn’t pull my weight. I came here and it’s a big difference – I’m not being babied. It was difficult when I first arrived because I was so angry, I just didn’t speak. It felt like such a betrayal that my mum had kicked me out. But if it hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now.”

Tasha says she has been lucky to have a supportive key worker and social worker who have helped her through these difficult transitions.

“Carol is my key worker here and I also have a really good social worker that I’ve been with since I was six – I wouldn’t be in this place if it wasn’t for her. I like it here. The staff are nice and it’s clean. It wasn’t what I expected. It wasn’t in your face; it felt quite private. Carol was very welcoming, but understood that I needed some space. She was always there to talk if I needed her.”

Professional Development

After moving into Centrepoint, Tasha secured an apprenticeship and traineeship with one of the top national banks. At this point, she had completely disengaged from school – it became such a problem that she decided to leave sixth form and try something different. The bank were able to look past her GCSE results and see her strengths.

“[The bank] recognise that anything can happen, that some people don’t do well in an academic setting; they could be the smartest person in the world, but can’t cope with exams. Even if you haven’t got the grades on paper, the bank give you the opportunity to prove yourself. It’s a really good apprenticeship. They gently ease you in to it and it’s rewarding too. I make sure I’m in every day and I’m punctual. I’m really lucky because it’s the second highest paying apprenticeship in the UK.”

Tasha adds that the company are extremely supportive and excellent at mentoring.

“There’s a safeguarding team and mental health support. There’s also a key worker who works with all the apprentices on a personal level. She’s really good and will help you with your work, making sure you keep on top of things. At the end, it’s the equivalent of five GCSEs, then you can go onto a level three and that’s the equivalent of A-levels.

“It’s been good for my confidence – I love new opportunities and I’ll always be up for trying a new programme or task.”

Moving on from Centrepoint

Now Tasha has reached 18, she has moved into her own flat and has almost completed her traineeship.  In December 2020 she received a Centrepoint Award in recognition of her achievements.

And what does the future hold?

“I want to treat myself,” she says. “I feel like I’ve had quite a rough time and I want to take care of myself – and be my own boss, eventually.”

We wish her all the best in all her endeavours.

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

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