Winnie and Lea
Our £14 million Bright New Futures programme has been building the emotional resilience of young parents and young disabled people in Wales so that they have the skills, knowledge and ability to manage key transitions in life. Read two stories about its success so far.
“I moved into Ty Greenfarm homeless hostel in Cardiff with my one year old daughter Lea. I had previously separated with Lea’s father and had no family in the area so the prospect of living in a homeless hostel was very scary.
Not long after I moved into the hostel staff there told me about the Shine service and a coffee morning they were holding to talk to people about the service. I was a bit nervous but I went along and I’m so glad I did. They were really friendly and made Lea and I welcome.
From there I started going to the Shine Stay & Play session in the hostel every week. Lea loved all of the fun activities and I really appreciated the opportunity to get out of our small room in the hostel and spend some quality time Lea. Going to the Shine sessions also helped me get to know other parents in the hostel. Most of all I really appreciated the opportunity to talk to the staff there about Lea’s development and issues I was dealing with from my past.
Lea and I loved the trips that Shine organised and we had a great time with other families from the hostel, in particular a trip to a local farm where Lea got to feed animals, something she’d never experienced before.
Whilst as the hostel I also completed Shine’s 10 week Parent Nurturing Programme, which helped be handle some of Lea’s emerging challenging behaviour as she was now a very active toddler. I loved the group and enjoyed meeting new parents and sharing our experiences and ideas.
Almost a year after I moved into the hostel I was offered a property of my own, not far from the hostel but in some ways I was still nervous. Shine staff explained if I needed support when I moved on that I could refer myself to their 1-2-1 Support Service.
When I moved into my new home Sarah from Shine came to visit me every week and we worked through an action plan including getting Lea a nursery place and resuming counselling for myself to deal with issues from my childhood. Sarah was a good listener, positive and approachable and made the experience of moving and going it alone better. I no longer need support from Shine, however know I can always give them a call if I do and that’s reassuring.
Since moving into my own house and receiving Shine’s support I’ve volunteered for Shine and my local Communities First Hub, helping out at Shine events and baking cakes to raise funds to my local community. Lea is doing so well in nursery and loves her new bedroom, which I’m really proud of. I’m planning on doing my food hygiene and business courses next year in preparation to start my own cake making business.
When I look back over the last few years I have definitely had some highs and lows, however I know that with services like Shine around I feel supported and know where to go for help if I need it.”
Shine, delivered in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan over five years by Taff Housing Association, was created with nearly £1m from Bright New Futures. Shine offers parenting support to young parents aged (16 to 25) who are homeless or in danger of being homeless and who are struggling to achieve key milestones in their families’ lives.
The aim of the project is to build up the skills and confidence of young parents and help them build strong, nurturing families that give their children the best possible start in life.