A teenager who was made homeless a year ago has spoken of a remarkable journey which saw her life transform from sleeping wherever she could, to running her own business.
Amy Chisholm was just 16 when alcoholism and a breakdown in family relations forced her to leave home.
“Even my grandmother couldn’t take me in,” Amy said, “She lives in supported accommodation for older people, so I couldn’t stay there.
“It was really difficult because before I was eventually kicked out, I was already sofa surfing and staying at friends’ houses.”
With the very real prospect of not having a bed, let a lone a roof over her head for the night, Amy approached The Hinge Centre on Field Road.
The community centre, which is in partnership with youth homeless charity SASH, endeavours help young people
She said: “I was sleeping wherever I could, then I got put in a night stop. The Hinge Centre helped me go to them, and I stayed with a couple for a few weeks. I got a lot of support from the Hinge Centre and SASH. That support meant I was able to continue at college.”
SASH and the Hinge Centre can be a lifeline for young people who all to often are faced with the abrupt reality of living independently and coping on their own.
Jackie Pulling, the Nightstop and Crashmat coordinator at the Hinge Centre said: “Amy came to us last February following a breakdown in the family, resulting in her being homeless.
“Following on from that she got support at the centre and went on the night stop scheme. This is short-term emergency accommodation for 14 nights and we work with the person to find them a more permanent form of accommodation.
“At that point it was felt that Amy go to a supported lodging scheme where she can still receive support with independent living.
“As you can imagine going through a homeless period at her age can have a huge impact on every aspect of life.
“It’s a pleasure to see Amy go from where she was after first coming to us, to where she is now and how she is developing her independent living.”
Amy now runs Deja-Vu salon on Applegarth Court and is living independently.