At first, I just thought it was for younger kids, I didn’t realise they took people up to 30. I’m so grateful to the YMCA for the help I had.
“Life was hectic before I came to the YMCA,” Matt told us. “Upside down.”
29-year-old Matt sounds calm as he reflects on a turbulent few years. He’d previously been living with his mum and nana, but things had become difficult and overcrowded. And then his nana’s house went up for sale. Feeling as if he had no other choice, Matt began what would become two years of sofa-surfing.
It was a slippery slope.
“I just had to make do with what I had,” Matt shrugged when we asked how he’d found it. He went on to describe how he’d fallen out with some mates and even had to spend some time on the streets. Hectic doesn’t even begin to cover it! He was living in a hotel when he finally made the decision to come to the YMCA, and it was the beginning of a journey that would give his life a new direction.
“At first, I just thought it was for younger kids, I didn’t realise they took people up to 30. I’m so grateful to the YMCA for the help I had,” Matt smiled. “They gave me food parcels, a toothbrush…things like that. They’d help me with the things I’d usually struggle with, like sorting out a gas company. “And all the staff were great,” he added. “Even the cleaner, Gillian, she’d fold my clothes up.”
But perhaps the biggest help Matt received was being able to find his own council flat. It was a bit run down at first, he explained, but he fixed it up with a lick of paint and now he’s loving it.
“Stacey sorted it for me, and I’m so chuffed. It looks alright and I get on with the neighbours…I’ve never had a place of my own. I’m buzzing.”
So, with a short stay at the YMCA behind him, regular contact from his Keyworker and council flat keys now in his pocket, Matt’s life is the ‘right way round’ and far less hectic. He now has the foundation he needs to look for work and a bright future ahead.
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