“Eight years ago my parents began to hold me responsible for my little brothers mental health issues. I couldn’t take the blame or pressure. I felt trapped and isolated so I shut myself away and started to drink quite heavily.

My drinking spiralled out of control and I ended up in trouble with the police. All at once I received a community order, was placed under supervision of the probation service for one year, lost my job and became homeless.

At this point I was running out of options, I was sofa surfing with friends and failing to keep my probation appointments. My probation officer signposted me to One YMCA and we all worked together to secure me a bed space. I moved into the YMCA Hostel.

The transition into hostel life was not comfortable. Due to my criminal record I was regarded as trouble on paper, but my YMCA key worker tailored my support to help ensure I could maintain my accommodation as well as follow house rules. Having stable accommodation allowed me to complete my community order and have a base to settle into my surroundings.

I received support for my alcohol abuse and was given the opportunity to talk through my emotions and discuss triggers which led me to drink.

During this past year I have progressed in my life, stopped abusing alcohol and met new friends. YMCA offered me the opportunity to enrol in the STEP Programme to help me gain the skills and experience required to find more permanent employment. I am now on my final stage with STEP and have been offered a position to work for Leaf Catering on a permanent, full-time basis. I am also about to move into my own flat.”