At Comic Relief one of our core issue areas is A Safe Place To Be, standing strong on our belief that everyone should have a safe and secure place to call home.
However with homelessness in the UK having risen by an estimated 134% in the last 8 years, this is sadly not a reality for everyone. Thankfully, there are great projects at hand to offer support. Meet Jackie from Blackpool.
Imagine going to bed one night after an argument with your Mum and waking up in the morning to find the house empty.
For 18 year old Jackie, this became a chilling reality when one morning she woke up to find her Mum, who has learning difficulties, had disappeared from the house while she slept.
Doing the right thing, Jackie filed a missing persons report, but only two days later the police got in contact to tell her her mother was alive and well, but wanted no contact with her. Her world crumbled.
“I was heartbroken” she recalls, “crying my eyes out.” “I felt that if my own Mum didn’t want me, who would?”
As a teenager Jackie had no money or food, and after two days she ran out of gas and electricity in their house. A week later, she was given notice by the housing office that she had to move out of their home. She was homeless. The only things she had in her possession were her backpack, a change of clothes, a few basic toiletries, and her teddy bear.
Thankfully, however, Jackie was referred to Streetlife. The project is supporting young homeless people in Blackpool to undertake social action. Leadership groups meet regularly to develop skills and pursue social action activities, such as raising awareness of homelessness, and establishing young people’s local community volunteering.
Through these leadership groups and volunteering, Streetlife helps to develop skills and build confidence as well as offering positive benefits for the wider community. The young people also work towards Duke of Edinburgh awards which recognise their community involvement and personal development.
We’re pleased to say that Jackie has now moved in to her own flat, is working full time and has almost completed her Duke of Edinburgh award which, she says, is largely due to the involvement of Streetlife.
“They saved me, really.” Jackie says. “Thanks to them, I’ve not ended up on the street. The thought of sleeping rough in town is terrifying. Streetlife is really helping me get my life back.”
To learn about more projects we support under A Safe Place To Be visit: https://www.comicrelief.com/news/safe-place-be-six-projects-were-proud-support