It’s really relaxed and I have made a few friends already.

Lizzie packed her belongings in two small bags. As she put a framed picture of her daughter on top of her clothes and zipped up her bag, she hoped that this time she would be moving to a safe place. She needed to focus on what she had to do to build a better future for herself but most importantly, get her life stable to get her daughter back. In her late teens, Lizzie met a young man who she fell for. Their relationship quickly blossomed and she moved away from her family home to live with him. It wasn’t long before Lizzie became pregnant.

After giving birth to their daughter Lizzie realised things at home weren’t good. Her boyfriend became violent and she feared that it wouldn’t be long before he turned his aggression towards their baby. Lizzie fled and moved to another city with their little girl.

After a few months Lizzie felt like dating again. Her friend set her up with an acquaintance. Several weeks passed and things didn’t seem right with her new relationship, she eventually realised that her boyfriend was dealing drugs. Lizzie needed to leave the relationship, but she didn’t know how.

Social Services became involved, placing Lizzie and her daughter in a women’s refuge. Lizzie’s mental health rapidly declined and her daughter was placed in foster care.

Lizzie moved into her childhood home with her parents. With no experience of depression or mental health issues, her mother and father called her lazy and miserable, only exacerbating the problem. Lizzie accessed a counsellor, who recommended she move out of her parents’ home.

She moved into another hostel, but didn’t want to stay for too long. Her Housing Officer there suggested that the YMCA would be a better place for her to live and receive support from.

Lizzie was wary of moving to YMCA Doncaster, as her anxiety and depression can be exacerbated by large groups of people. Her view of the YMCA changed when she came for the interview:

“I thought that living in a small room with loads of people around me would be awful. I didn’t know if I was making the right choice, but now I am here the room isn’t small like I thought it was and people don’t hang around in massive groups like I thought they would. It’s really relaxed and I have made a few friends already.”

With the help and support of her Keyworker at YMCA Doncaster, Lizzie has applied for a college course in animal welfare which she starts this year. Her Keyworker has also helped her get in touch with a local animal shelter where she will become a volunteer.

Depression and anxiety has plagued Lizzie’s life for over six years now, but she is working on new techniques to help her cope. With the help of YMCA support staff and a counsellor she is dealing with it much better.

“I am staying focused. I want to sort myself out, get a job and get a home which is safe for my daughter. I want her to have a better life than I ever did. My main goal is to get her back; I want to be able to provide for her and show her that she is the best thing that ever happened to me. I want her to be proud to call me Mum. I’ll do it. I know I will!”

Do you have what it takes to help shape and steer YMCA Doncaster at a strategic level? Can you help us be as proud of our future as we are of our history? Could you become a Trustee? Click here for more information.