Arriving in Doncaster just before Christmas with a few personal belongings, Tracey made her way from the bus station to the YMCA. She hoped that this would be the place she could finally feel safe; away from a violent partner and family that just didn’t seem to care about her anymore.
Tracey grew up in a turbulent household, witnessing her parents fighting and arguing. Following her parents separating, Tracey was involved in an “horrific” custody battle between her mother and father. Tracey was placed with her mother to live; she lost all contact with her father and siblings.
Unfortunately, Tracey fell victim to bullies whilst at school and was subjected to terrible ordeals on a daily basis. Her childhood was not a happy one, she felt defeated and deflated; feelings no nine or ten year old should ever have.
At the age of 16 Tracey felt that the time was right to tell her mother that she is gay, something her mother could not deal with or accept. She threw Tracey out of the house, leaving her homeless.
Shortly after becoming homeless Tracey moved in with her new partner. Tracey’s partner became extremely violent towards her and she was a victim of Domestic Violence for almost four years. On one particular night of abuse, the police arrived on the scene and had to remove Tracey for her own protection. Tracey left the town and went to stay with an Aunt in another part of the country.
History only seemed to repeat itself when Tracey fell in to a relationship with another controlling and abusive partner. Tracey suffered at the hands of this abusive partner for a number of years and felt trapped with no way out and no one to turn to.
Tracey spiralled in to depression and was also diagnosed with a serious kidney disease. Due to her heightened depression and anxiety, Tracey failed to maintain her own health and was becoming increasingly ill.
An acquaintance recognised the signs of the abusive relationship Tracey was in and gave her details of a support service that could possibly help out. This advice agency put Tracey in contact with YMCA Doncaster.
Tracey explains that she was feeling so low at this point that she saw YMCA Doncaster as a ray of hope. She filled in an application and attended for interview:
“I just remember coming for the interview and thinking that it seemed like everything was in order and safe. So different from the situation I was in at that time. I was so glad when I got the call to say they had a room for me.”
Attending regular support sessions with her Keyworker at the YMCA, Tracey states that she is finally developing a sense of worth. Her Keyworker has also supported her in seeking much needed medical care for her health condition and has helped her access counselling sessions with a local mental health organisation.
“Living at the YMCA is great. I don’t have to hide who I am; I am free to be myself. It feels like my life is moving forward at last. I am in such a happier place in my life right now. I can see myself having a happy future, which I couldn’t before.
Tracey is looking forward to planning her future. She is currently looking at careers in music, as it has always been a passion of hers. She states that she turned to music to help her cope with things before she found support from the YMCA.
“I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t found the YMCA. I probably wouldn’t be here; I just don’t think I was strong enough to cope. This place has given me hope when I thought there was none.”
If you think you have what it takes to help young people who are vulnerable and homeless in Doncaster then please click here for information about vacancies on our staff team.