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Memory's story

Memory's story of supported lodgings

At age 15 my mum passed away, so I was put into foster care. When I turned 16, I went to live with Jo in supported lodgings.

I was so anxious about leaving foster care, but I knew that I wasn’t ready to live on my own. As soon as I stepped into Jo’s house though that anxiety melted away. I wasn’t just given a bed to sleep in, but I was immediately part of her family.

I stayed with Jo for 3 years in the end, until I was 19 years old, going through both sixth form and college together. It wasn’t always easy for either of us, but she just took everything in her stride. We grew and learned together. 

Jo was always there if I ever needed a chat. We worked through things together and she treated me like an adult. I felt like she respected me, and in turn I respected her too. Not only did we learn from each other, but we’ve shared our experiences and shared our life together.

Having a constant like Jo in my life has benefited me greatly. Not only that but she gave me the practical support I needed. She would teach me to cook and help with my laundry; all life skills that have enabled me to live an independent life now.

I honestly don’t think Id be where I am today, in a full-time job for a local council, if it wasn’t for Jo. She has very much helped shape my life by being a constant in it.

When someone offers you a home, a base to go back to, that is such a nice feeling.

I’ve also met so many other amazing people my own age with similar experiences to me, through Jo. That network of peer support has become important and I’ve even since moved in with another young girl that Jo supported. We’re like family.

If you’re considering becoming a supported lodgings provider, then never underestimate the impact you can have on someone’s life by just giving them a little bit of stability. With exams and school to contend with at age 16, your support enables a young person to focus on just that. They shouldn’t have to be worried about where their next meal is coming from or if they will have a warm bed for the night.

Jo makes a massive impact on every young person she supports, and she is just incredible. She loves everyone the same. I know that if I ever need anything, even now, I can call on her, and she would help me. I often say that I’ve got a “nana for life!”

Now that Jo is retiring, Essex County Council will have a very big hole to fill, but if you are open-minded and loving with a spare room then you can make just as much of an impact.

or call 0800 801 530 or 03330 139 954