Here are personal accounts from four members of St Basils Youth Advisory Board. All of these young people have recently become homeless and are currently staying with or receiving other support from St Basils. These stories are written by the young people themselves. Names have been removed for confidentiality reasons.
“I was made homeless in April 2010 due to domestic violence at home. My family moved out of the city but unfortunately I couldn’t leave Birmingham as at the time I was in my final year at university and working in the city centre. Due to the stresses of family life and not having a place to live I became unable to keep that job and almost dropped out of university. I moved around living with friends and family for the first few months before making contact with St Basils. I was very nervous and unsure what the outcome would be but I was placed into St Basil’s accommodation within a few hours of contact. After a few weeks I felt I'd made a lot of great friends and the staff at the project were really nice as well. I was elected by the other young people at the project to be Resident Rep. I was unsure about the role and wasn’t very confident but the staff really encouraged me to get involved, so I did.The staff also referred me to become a member of the YAB (Youth Advisory Board) which has been great; I’ve been involved in more things and gone to more places than I could ever have imagined. Being a part of YAB has been an amazing experience; its built my confidence massively, given me a voice, inspired me to achieve personal and professional goals, I’ve influenced and brought about change within the organization, I’ve made more great friends and its equipped me with key skills for the future that I can use throughout my life”.
“When I became homeless after an argument with my mom and sister, I really didn’t see any way I would find a place to live and get my life back on track. I referred myself to St. Basils as I was sleeping on a friend’s sofa, but knew this could only be temporary. When I was offered a place at St Basils, it was such a relief. Once I moved in, I felt a lot calmer and the relationship with my family greatly improved. I’ve made friends with other residents and have got involved in a lot of activities. I have participated in training courses, such as peer mentoring, and I am also a member of the YAB (Youth Advisory Board) and the NYRG (National Youth Reference Group). These opportunities have helped me improve my skills and have shown me that young people can make a difference and have their say when given the chance. I feel this whole experience has really changed everything from negative to very positive, and I now hope to pursue a career in Youth Work myself”.
“I live in the Wyre Forest I am currently a member of the National Youth Reference Group and Youth Advisory Board and get involved in youth work at the local youth centre in my area. I grew up in Stourport with my father and brother and sister. My dad passed away when I was 17 and me and my brother went to live with my Nan and my sister went to live with her boyfriend. Everything was going ok until later that year my Nan passed away and my uncle came down to stay with my Grandad which was meant to be temporary but then became permanent. My uncle used to drink a lot and used to fight with my brother and one day it got out of hand and resulted in a fight and I had to leave which is how I became homeless. I worked at the high school in my local area while this was going on, one of my work mates found out about St Basils from the Connexions worker and they put a referral in for me. St Basils called me and arranged a meeting with me and after a couple of months of support I moved in to one of their projects in Park Street, Kidderminster. I lived at the project for a few months and while I was there I got involved in doing the Life Skills qualification, peer mentoring, Youth Advisory Board and the National Youth Reference Group. I have recently got my own flat and am now settled. I am still receiving support from St Basils and am re-sitting some of my GCSE’s as I am hoping to go to university next year”.
“I have been an elected member on the Youth Advisory Board (YAB) since 2010 and have enjoyed every moment on the Board since I started. When I first found out about the YAB, I really leaped at the chance to work on the board not to just have a voice for myself but for other young people at St Basils and to make that difference. I was nervous when I started, I won’t lie, but after a while it was like I became a member of the family working with the other young people on the Board and working to shape the future of the Board for young people. I feel that in my time here, the Board has gone from strength to strength and being involved in YAB has helped me achieve my goals such as I have new found confidence, the ability to work as a team member and be honest and respectful to the rest of the board and learning that other young people’s opinions really do matter.”
We need your stories! If you are currently engaged with or have recently left St Basils, please email us your story, including how you became homeless, what help you have received and if/how this has changed your outlook on your future. Your details will be kept confidential and your story anonymous unless you specifically ask for your name to be added. Please email the St Basils Communications Officer.