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Centrepoint ambassador group photo

Homelessness isn’t something that only happens to other people. Tens of thousands of young people are homeless or at risk of homelessness, but we know this is only the tip of the iceberg. The ASOS Foundation is proud to support Centrepoint in setting up a helpline for 16-25 year olds. Read Anna, Brookemorgan, Georges and Tate’s stories below and if you’re in trouble, or worried about someone else, pick up the phone.

Centrepoint ambassador Anna

Anna

‘Living in the hostel taught me a lot, especially about the importance of nobody being viewed like they’re nothing.’

I started photography when I was 12. They had a film competition at school and I entered, staying behind on the computers in the art block. Around the same age I started having difficulties with my mental health – initially severe anxiety, which stopped me from going to school. I visited different professionals, but nothing helped and it became worse. I began to self-harm, which carried on throughout my teens. On the one hand I’d found creativity through my film work, but on the other hand I was hiding behind the camera.

I found recovery at 17 years old, when I was on the verge of killing myself. Although I love my family dearly, my mental health, emotional wellbeing and recovery had to come first. I knew in order to keep my recovery going, I needed to leave home. I was put in an emergency hostel – it wasn’t good, but luckily I was only there for a few days. By chance I met someone who put me in touch with Centrepoint. I had the interview in April 2016 and moved into the hostel the next day.

Centrepoint hostels are important because they don’t just put you in a room, they create an environment where you feel like you can make the next step in life. When you come in, you sign up saying you’ll engage in employment, training or college. There are workshops, you can do maths or English to college standard and get help finding jobs and writing CVs. At Christmas there’s Christmas dinner for people who stay.

I moved out of the hostel in May. A certain number of accommodation spaces come up at the housing association that the hostel rents from, and I was put forward for one. It provides motivation to keep your flat tidy and your rent up to date, but it’s difficult because you leave behind people who are equally deserving of their own place. It’s something I’m hugely grateful for but also something everyone’s deserving of.

The very first advice I give to people when they’re struggling with anything – whether it’s mental health, physical health, pain inside, pain at home, whatever it is – is to tell someone. That’s why the Centrepoint helpline’s in place. You can call and get advice. They might not have all the answers, but it’s the first step.

I’m excited for the future. I want to do lots of creative projects around the empowerment of other people, I want to make films raising awareness of all sorts of things that aren’t talked about and portrayed incorrectly. I want to set up more places for people suffering with mental health and addiction. I take life day by day, but I’m now looking forward to the future.

http://www.annamcgrane.co.uk/

Read more

Centrepoint ambassador Brookemorgan

Brookemorgan

‘I think it’s important to tell my story. People don’t know what homelessness is. I’m a normal girl, proof that anyone can experience homelessness.’

When I was 14 my mum’s youngest brother passed away suddenly and Mum fell into a deep depression. My mum and I had been best friends but our relationship suffered – she stopped eating, talking and working. I have a younger brother and would make sure he got up, ate, went to school. It was a lot of pressure. Six, nine months went by and I started to mimic Mum’s behaviour, isolating myself and not talking. I didn’t want to go to school and when I was there I had temper tantrums. There wasn’t anything anyone could do, except for me to go into care and I didn’t want that. I went to live with my nan and started sixth form. I thought it would be a fresh start, but nothing really changed. My nan offered me a lot of help but I gave her the cold shoulder, which I feel bad about now. Eventually she kicked me out and I started sofa surfing, staying with family or friends, which is known as ‘hidden homelessness’ because you don’t have somewhere you’re meant to be or a bed of your own.

Eventually I was referred to my local authority who in turn referred me to Centrepoint and I had an assessment interview. A couple of hours later they called and said I had a room. The next day my boyfriend helped me move my things in and I moved in the following day. I’ve always enjoyed my own company and settled in quickly. I used to say, ‘Welcome to my tranquil space,’ when people came to my room because that’s what it was. It was a place where I could collect my thoughts and clear my mind. You don’t realise how important your peace of mind is until you lose it. I continued to study while I was at Centrepoint and as soon as I finished I started doing placements in the media and working as a freelance assistant director and PA.

To young people who are having problems, I would say go to your doctor or seek counselling, find things to do that make you happy so that even in your dark times you have something to look forward to. Speak to people you trust and if you’re homeless or feel like you’re going to be homeless, call the Centrepoint helpline. They can give you a lot of help and refer you to services. I’ve rebuilt my relationship with my mum and moved into my own apartment in July. I’m also a singer/songwriter – I’ve got a place on the Roundhouse Rising Sounds programme for 2018 – and I’m going to do some open mics. I’m looking forward to a creative year.

Read more

Centrepoint ambassador Georges

Georges

‘No one wants to be homeless; it’s unfair to judge someone who sleeps on the street. We should all be given a chance to be ourselves and show what we’ve got.’

I first moved into a Centrepoint hostel last April. The staff members are nice, the place is really clean and my room is massive! Before I came to Centrepoint, I was living with my mum. She kicked me out and I had nowhere to go. She beat me up, and I had bruises all over my hands. It was November when I left, it was freezing and I was wearing a T-shirt and jeans. I only had my Oyster card and phone.

I stayed at my girlfriend’s for a while. The first few days were a nightmare. My mum went away a lot so I was used to living on my own, not sharing a bathroom and kitchen with a whole family. I was trying to keep the place clean and be on point and not be in the way, and I was stressed about my situation and everything going on with my mum. I was really depressed. I felt like I didn’t belong in this world and I thought about doing a lot of things… but I told myself I would never do that. I just wanted change.

I went to social services, they sent me to Centrepoint and I moved straight in. I couldn’t sleep on my first night because I was scared, anxious, stressed. What made me settle in was the opportunities I got from Centrepoint. I started seeing a counsellor which helped me a lot. The first session was really difficult, but over time my counsellor made me feel comfortable – she was really open with me and made me want to speak to her.

Centrepoint also gave me the opportunity to do a coaching course. I had to learn how to coach young people and adults, how to make them feel comfortable about themselves and confident. I loved it, and now when I’m not in college I teach martial arts. I’m involved with Centrepoint Parliament, which is one of the most exciting projects I’ve done in my life. At the moment, we’re raising awareness around how to recognise the signs of mental health issues and identify when someone is suffering.

Centrepoint changed my life by giving me opportunities. No one wants to be homeless, it’s really unfair to judge someone just because they don’t have a choice. The Centrepoint helpline is really important, it’s a direct way for vulnerable people to access those who can help them cope. Rather than having to go through a whole process – where you sometimes have to sleep on the street for a couple of days before you get into a hostel – you can call and by the next day you’re safe.

Read more

Centrepoint ambassador Tate

Tate

‘A lot of people think homeless means sleeping on the streets. When I tell people I live in a hostel, they’re surprised because I don’t fit the stereotype.’

I lived with my mum and dad and two older sisters. It was restrictive – I shared a room with one of my sisters – and I felt increasingly stressed. Personalities clashed and I didn’t want to go home. Over time it became too much, I knew it wasn’t right for me and my future. If I’d stayed I would have fallen into a deep depression, I knew I had to remove myself. I went to the local authority housing department but because I was 17 I was sent to another office. They did an assessment, then I had to sit there for hours. It was all a bit confusing and scary. I got a place at a Centrepoint hostel and moved in that day. It’s one of the biggest, with around 80 young people. You share communal areas like the kitchen and bathroom, but you have your own room.

Having a place to stay was amazing but I don’t think you ever feel completely comfortable in a hostel. I didn’t really speak to anyone for the first six months, I was just in and out, to college and work. It was about a year before I felt more comfortable and getting to know the staff helped. I get on with people at the hostel but I have a goal and I need to keep that in mind, that this is a temporary thing, it’s not forever.

Last Christmas I didn’t want to go home, so my dad came and cooked for everyone who was staying in the hostel over Christmas or didn’t have anywhere else to go. We prepared everything in the big communal kitchen – two turkeys, fried fish, chicken, rice, veg, salad and I made macaroni cheese. There was so much food!

I don’t know where I’d be without Centrepoint, they’ve helped me so much and so I try to help where I can, cooking for events, going to workshops or encouraging others to go. For anyone having a hard time at home, if you’re at school or college talk to a teacher you feel close to and ask for support. See if you can resolve the situation, or get help to resolve the problem. Keep your close friends around you.

My ultimate goal in life is to help people and change lives. Centrepoint has helped me realise what I want to do and the route I need to take to get there. I’m now working as a make-up artist and have been nominated to move out into my own place – hopefully I’ll be moving into my own flat before the summer.

Read more

Centrepoint ambassador Anna

Anna

‘Living in the hostel taught me a lot, especially about the importance of nobody being viewed like they’re nothing.’

I started photography when I was 12. They had a film competition at school and I entered, staying behind on the computers in the art block. Around the same age I started having difficulties with my mental health – initially severe anxiety, which stopped me from going to school. I visited different professionals, but nothing helped and it became worse. I began to self-harm, which carried on throughout my teens. On the one hand I’d found creativity through my film work, but on the other hand I was hiding behind the camera.

I found recovery at 17 years old, when I was on the verge of killing myself. Although I love my family dearly, my mental health, emotional wellbeing and recovery had to come first. I knew in order to keep my recovery going, I needed to leave home. I was put in an emergency hostel – it wasn’t good, but luckily I was only there for a few days. By chance I met someone who put me in touch with Centrepoint. I had the interview in April 2016 and moved into the hostel the next day.

Centrepoint hostels are important because they don’t just put you in a room, they create an environment where you feel like you can make the next step in life. When you come in, you sign up saying you’ll engage in employment, training or college. There are workshops, you can do maths or English to college standard and get help finding jobs and writing CVs. At Christmas there’s Christmas dinner for people who stay.

I moved out of the hostel in May. A certain number of accommodation spaces come up at the housing association that the hostel rents from, and I was put forward for one. It provides motivation to keep your flat tidy and your rent up to date, but it’s difficult because you leave behind people who are equally deserving of their own place. It’s something I’m hugely grateful for but also something everyone’s deserving of.

The very first advice I give to people when they’re struggling with anything – whether it’s mental health, physical health, pain inside, pain at home, whatever it is – is to tell someone. That’s why the Centrepoint helpline’s in place. You can call and get advice. They might not have all the answers, but it’s the first step.

I’m excited for the future. I want to do lots of creative projects around the empowerment of other people, I want to make films raising awareness of all sorts of things that aren’t talked about and portrayed incorrectly. I want to set up more places for people suffering with mental health and addiction. I take life day by day, but I’m now looking forward to the future.

http://www.annamcgrane.co.uk/

Read more

Centrepoint ambassador Georges

Georges

‘No one wants to be homeless; it’s unfair to judge someone who sleeps on the street. We should all be given a chance to be ourselves and show what we’ve got.’

I first moved into a Centrepoint hostel last April. The staff members are nice, the place is really clean and my room is massive! Before I came to Centrepoint, I was living with my mum. She kicked me out and I had nowhere to go. She beat me up, and I had bruises all over my hands. It was November when I left, it was freezing and I was wearing a T-shirt and jeans. I only had my Oyster card and phone.

I stayed at my girlfriend’s for a while. The first few days were a nightmare. My mum went away a lot so I was used to living on my own, not sharing a bathroom and kitchen with a whole family. I was trying to keep the place clean and be on point and not be in the way, and I was stressed about my situation and everything going on with my mum. I was really depressed. I felt like I didn’t belong in this world and I thought about doing a lot of things… but I told myself I would never do that. I just wanted change.

I went to social services, they sent me to Centrepoint and I moved straight in. I couldn’t sleep on my first night because I was scared, anxious, stressed. What made me settle in was the opportunities I got from Centrepoint. I started seeing a counsellor which helped me a lot. The first session was really difficult, but over time my counsellor made me feel comfortable – she was really open with me and made me want to speak to her.

Centrepoint also gave me the opportunity to do a coaching course. I had to learn how to coach young people and adults, how to make them feel comfortable about themselves and confident. I loved it, and now when I’m not in college I teach martial arts. I’m involved with Centrepoint Parliament, which is one of the most exciting projects I’ve done in my life. At the moment, we’re raising awareness around how to recognise the signs of mental health issues and identify when someone is suffering.

Centrepoint changed my life by giving me opportunities. No one wants to be homeless, it’s really unfair to judge someone just because they don’t have a choice. The Centrepoint helpline is really important, it’s a direct way for vulnerable people to access those who can help them cope. Rather than having to go through a whole process – where you sometimes have to sleep on the street for a couple of days before you get into a hostel – you can call and by the next day you’re safe.

Read more

Centrepoint ambassador Brookemorgan

Brookemorgan

‘I think it’s important to tell my story. People don’t know what homelessness is. I’m a normal girl, proof that anyone can experience homelessness.’

When I was 14 my mum’s youngest brother passed away suddenly and Mum fell into a deep depression. My mum and I had been best friends but our relationship suffered – she stopped eating, talking and working. I have a younger brother and would make sure he got up, ate, went to school. It was a lot of pressure. Six, nine months went by and I started to mimic Mum’s behaviour, isolating myself and not talking. I didn’t want to go to school and when I was there I had temper tantrums. There wasn’t anything anyone could do, except for me to go into care and I didn’t want that. I went to live with my nan and started sixth form. I thought it would be a fresh start, but nothing really changed. My nan offered me a lot of help but I gave her the cold shoulder, which I feel bad about now. Eventually she kicked me out and I started sofa surfing, staying with family or friends, which is known as ‘hidden homelessness’ because you don’t have somewhere you’re meant to be or a bed of your own.

Eventually I was referred to my local authority who in turn referred me to Centrepoint and I had an assessment interview. A couple of hours later they called and said I had a room. The next day my boyfriend helped me move my things in and I moved in the following day. I’ve always enjoyed my own company and settled in quickly. I used to say, ‘Welcome to my tranquil space,’ when people came to my room because that’s what it was. It was a place where I could collect my thoughts and clear my mind. You don’t realise how important your peace of mind is until you lose it. I continued to study while I was at Centrepoint and as soon as I finished I started doing placements in the media and working as a freelance assistant director and PA.

To young people who are having problems, I would say go to your doctor or seek counselling, find things to do that make you happy so that even in your dark times you have something to look forward to. Speak to people you trust and if you’re homeless or feel like you’re going to be homeless, call the Centrepoint helpline. They can give you a lot of help and refer you to services. I’ve rebuilt my relationship with my mum and moved into my own apartment in July. I’m also a singer/songwriter – I’ve got a place on the Roundhouse Rising Sounds programme for 2018 – and I’m going to do some open mics. I’m looking forward to a creative year.

Read more

Centrepoint ambassador Tate

Tate

‘A lot of people think homeless means sleeping on the streets. When I tell people I live in a hostel, they’re surprised because I don’t fit the stereotype.’

I lived with my mum and dad and two older sisters. It was restrictive – I shared a room with one of my sisters – and I felt increasingly stressed. Personalities clashed and I didn’t want to go home. Over time it became too much, I knew it wasn’t right for me and my future. If I’d stayed I would have fallen into a deep depression, I knew I had to remove myself. I went to the local authority housing department but because I was 17 I was sent to another office. They did an assessment, then I had to sit there for hours. It was all a bit confusing and scary. I got a place at a Centrepoint hostel and moved in that day. It’s one of the biggest, with around 80 young people. You share communal areas like the kitchen and bathroom, but you have your own room.

Having a place to stay was amazing but I don’t think you ever feel completely comfortable in a hostel. I didn’t really speak to anyone for the first six months, I was just in and out, to college and work. It was about a year before I felt more comfortable and getting to know the staff helped. I get on with people at the hostel but I have a goal and I need to keep that in mind, that this is a temporary thing, it’s not forever.

Last Christmas I didn’t want to go home, so my dad came and cooked for everyone who was staying in the hostel over Christmas or didn’t have anywhere else to go. We prepared everything in the big communal kitchen – two turkeys, fried fish, chicken, rice, veg, salad and I made macaroni cheese. There was so much food!

I don’t know where I’d be without Centrepoint, they’ve helped me so much and so I try to help where I can, cooking for events, going to workshops or encouraging others to go. For anyone having a hard time at home, if you’re at school or college talk to a teacher you feel close to and ask for support. See if you can resolve the situation, or get help to resolve the problem. Keep your close friends around you.

My ultimate goal in life is to help people and change lives. Centrepoint has helped me realise what I want to do and the route I need to take to get there. I’m now working as a make-up artist and have been nominated to move out into my own place – hopefully I’ll be moving into my own flat before the summer.

Read more