“I have definitely not had a childhood. Some people say it’s a good thing because I have matured, but it’s not. I had to grow up.”
Coedlys House, Llangefni provides specialist accommodation and housing-related support for homeless young people, aged 16 to 25 years who have complex needs.
We spoke with Steph, a 17 year old young person about her experiences and what the future holds for herself and the project which was funded by the National Lottery Community Fund.
We sit in a bright, cheery room waiting for Steph, a young person from Digartref Ynys Mon to come and speak to us about her experiences.
In the middle of the table is a pretty posey of purple paper flowers. They look like they were hand made by someone as a lovely gift. On another table is a cake rack full of colourful, delicious looking cup cakes.
“They made them for you.” Says Shell Waters- Project Manager.
“They do a lot of group activities such as breakfast club, curry night etc.
A lot of them wouldn’t have had sit down family meals. They are looking for the things that we all take for granted that they never had.
One young man slept on the floor when he came here for 4 months because that is what he was used to.”
Coedlys House opened on 22nd May 2013 and is a 7 bed facility in Llangefni
The key focus of the project is on building strong relationships between the young person and their Support Worker through a non-exclusion policy and a person centred approach that enables and empowers them to live independently in the future.
“Young people were being sent out of county because they didn’t have the capacity to support young people with complex support needs.
Rather than pay for them all to go out of county we had funding from the lottery to open the building so they can remain on the island near family and friends.”
After a few minutes a young , slim girl walks into the room and sits with us at the table. She wears stylish glasses and a funky tee shirt. To the rest of the world she looks like a typical teenager, but for Steph, her teenage years have been anything but.
“I had been a young carer from a young age and things had gotten really bad at home between myself and my mother. I told a member of staff from Young Carers who I was close with, and she took me to social services and we talked to them and I was really lucky to end up here.
It started when I was in primary school and my mum got gangrene. Her leg had to be amputated from under her knee. Then her other leg was infected and she had her other leg amputated. I have been caring for her since I was 11. It was after her foot came off that things got worse.
I still don’t understand how it got so bad.
She had been through a lot, she didn’t talk to anyone about it and kept it all inside and then I became her scapegoat. She became really demanding. She stopped appreciating what I was doing and I couldn’t deal with that.
She was constantly shouting at me and I wasn’t able to sleep because she wouldn’t let me.
I couldn’t function at home because I was so tired. My school work suffered and I couldn’t revise at all so I got in touch with this project and it good because I could move out straight away.
I’ve always been independent so I could deal with it well and in a way it’s helped with my relationship with my mum because now I have the freedom to see her when I want. She still won’t admit to what happened which is upsetting, but the project has helped a lot.
“Coming here has given me more confidence and given me more hope for the future. I couldn’t have stayed home. If I didn’t get into this place or hear about it I would literally have nowhere to go. I would honestly be on the streets. “
If you would like to know more about Digartref Ynys Môn, please visit their website.