‘How Leeds homeless organisation Beacon helped me make a major change in my life’

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Mother-of-four Anne found herself living on the streets after a long-term relationship broke down.

Despite the family home being in her name, she was forced out when her children chose to stay with their father.

'Anne' has realised she could have a brighter future thanks to Beacon.

'Anne' has realised she could have a brighter future thanks to Beacon.

Read more: New scheme provides support to those on the streets of Leeds when and where they need it most

“After one particular argument they were asked to choose between us in front of their father,” she said. “It was very tough.”

Vulnerable in the wake of all this, she succumbed to drugs and alcohol and found herself sleeping rough and moving from hostel to hostel.

Anne’s mental health deteriorated and she ended up at Leeds General Infirmary, where she became abusive towards the staff.

Fortunately, they realised she needed acute specialist care and contacted Leeds Housing Services. That was when Beacon, stepped in.

“I had no money, my mental health was fragile, and the tiniest thing would make me aggressive and angry,” Anne said. “I carried a lot of guilt because of the breakdown of my relationship with my children and ended up having a break down and being referred to a psychiatrist.

“My confidence had been completely destroyed, I was unable to do the simplest things for myself and was in an abusive relationship on a downward spiral.

“Doing my own laundry was a major task; cooking, cleaning and shopping almost beyond me, and having a normal relationship with my children seemed beyond reach.”

Read more: Big Change Leeds - What the new way of helping the city’s homeless aims to do

Beacon helped identify Anne’s immediate needs, set out a long-term ambition for her life and has been her support mechanism on the tentative road to independence.

“Beacon stepped in with a series of small steps to make a major change in my life,” she said. “They helped me realise I could have a bright future, but that it was up to me to make gradual changes. Thanks to my support workers at Beacon I have been able to get medical treatment to fight my addictions and support my mental health recovery.”

Beacon introduced Anne to support groups where she can focus on relationship and offered practical support with housing applications. They also supported her in applying for voluntary work at Meanwood Valley Farm.

After three years, Anne is now poised to move into her own home and launch the next stage in her recovery.

“Beacon has given me so much support and help so that I feel confident again, I am rebuilding relationships with my family and considering finding work in the new year,” she said. “They really have helped me turn my life around.”