This is Claudia's story
“I want to tell people how much Quarriers helped me.”
22-year-old Claudia was supported for three years at Quarriers What If service.
The service provides supported accommodation for young women affected by homelessness who have complex needs as a result of trauma experienced in their background and has a strong non exclusion policy – no matter what happens in their lives, or how they respond to their experiences, the young women are guaranteed the place, and the empathic support of the team.
Claudia asked the team if she could tell her story, so here it is, in her own words.
“Before I came to Quarriers I was staying at another place for homeless young people. It wasn’t going well. They were saying I didn’t have good door control – that’s when you have too many people coming to your room – there was drugs and alcohol involved. I wasn’t in a good place.
“So, I got referred to Quarriers. When I first came, I had bad views toward the team. I was like, ‘I’m done with workers.’ I wasn’t doing it just to be bad, I was young, and I thought I could do everything on my own.
When I first went, I struggled to have trust. An example is, because I knew the staff were being paid to do the work, I would think that if they were helping me, it was so they would get bonuses.
That’s not true, but now I understand how that was happening because one of the biggest things the guys at Quarriers have done for me is to refer me to the mental health team. That’s ended up with me getting a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder and that’s been a part of it all. I’ve struggled to find good relationships in my life and although I knew that I needed people, I didn’t know how to do it.
“I’ve struggled to find good relationships in my life and although I knew that I needed people, I didn’t know how to do it.”
The guys at Quarriers didn’t give up and I am thankful. I don’t know why but I just started to talk to everyone on the team – I’d go to them with anything that I wanted advice on.
Once, there was a boy bullying me at college, and he’d turned up to my flat a few times. I was saying to my key worker I wanted to move. We went to look at another flat and Mags, the service manager, was with me. She said, “You know, when you grow up in foster care, often, when things go wrong, you are moved on. So, you learn that if something isn’t working – just leave. But that means you never get to resolve the issue for yourself and you’re always moving on.” It just made so much sense to me – it went right back to my childhood. And there’s been a lot of times like that.
By the end of the three years at Quarriers it was like all the staff at Quarriers were my mums – I know they’re not, but that’s what it’s like.
I feel bad I didn’t listen to the guys at Quarriers earlier so I’m telling my story so that if it helps one other young person that’s good. I’d say to them that even if you think they’re the worst people in the world at first, take the help.
“I’m telling my story so if it helps one other young person to take the help that’s good.”
Since I have left Quarriers I have sometimes felt alone, I know this is because I have had workers around me since I was a wee girl. Whether that be social workers or support workers, there has always been people involved. Now that I’m leaving the system it’s weird that I don’t have someone at my door every night or someone giving me a welfare call. It makes me feel more independent but at the same time it’s a lot of relationships ending, and endings affect people because it’s a change in what they’re used to.
“I have had workers around me since I was a wee girl. Whether that be social workers or support workers, there has always been people involved.”
But I know I can always call WHAT IF, if I’m feeling alone and they won’t just turn the phone off or block my number. They have reassured me they aren’t going anywhere – the things I’m used to are still around, I just don’t need the support like I used to.
I do feel hopeful about the future now, although that hasn’t always been the case. In the past year I have done a lot of work on myself including therapy, which has helped me tons. A few years ago, I had lost hope in every part of my life and did not want to be here anymore.
“I do feel hopeful about the future now. A few years ago, I had lost hope in every part of my life and did not want to be here anymore.”