Louise’s childhood was incredibly troubled; she never knew her father and experienced terrible abuse while in foster care. At 9 years old, her mum died. All this trauma became too much to bear and by her teens Louise was using Class A drugs to escape.

‘The criminal activity I resorted to inevitably landed me in prison on more than one occasion. For years I was trapped in a cycle of chaos, crime and addiction that I just couldn’t escape from. My children had been removed from my care and things couldn’t get any worse. I knew I had to make a change when I got pregnant with my daughter (who is now
nearly 4 years old). I completed a year-long rehabilitation programme and for the first time as an adult, I was clean. Everything finally seemed to be coming together; life had changed direction for the better. To cut a long and very painful story short, having managed to stay clean for 14 – 15 months, I made some bad decisions which
ultimately lead to my daughter being taken away from me. I haven’t seen her since. I can’t explain the pain. I was devastated and I still am.

My whole world collapsed and I relapsed massively. I was lost in every way imaginable; swept away in a whirlwind
of using drugs to try and escape cruel reality. I’d put my all into getting clean and everything I’d worked for was gone.’ When the odds seemed to be stacked against her, Louise made a decision to HOPE and be determined to push herself forward into a new phase of life. ‘Going back to prison became a blessing; it was through a Bible study group that I was referred to Hope into Action. Without the safe place to live they set up for me in
‘Hope House’ , I’d have been straight back out on the streets upon my release.

Hope into Action treated me like a human being (which I wasn’t used to) and helped me turn my life around. When I was recalled to prison for a few weeks (for a historic crime), I went through all the usual health checks. I couldn’t believe it when they told me I was pregnant! Being on the Pill, it was totally unexpected. Then I had a scan and got an even bigger surprise;
TWO babies! I don’t think I stopped shaking for about a fortnight; I was in complete shock to be expecting twins! I wouldn’t change it for the world though.

I couldn’t continue living in the Hope into Action house, and was incredibly grateful when the team helped set me up in
temporary accommodation and source the furniture I needed. When I first brought the babies home, we had Social Services in the house every day, which was understandable, but really intense. Our amazing Social Worker took us seriously when we told her we wanted to make a go of being parents and gave us the support we needed to prove ourselves. My partner (the children’s dad) and I both admit that we weren’t good for each other in the beginning; but now we’ve turned our lives around and we’re great support for each other. Earlier this year, we were signed off by Social Services. We’re really proud that we’ve achieved this, proving that we can cope properly and work as a team to
care for the twins.

Our mentors from Hope House were from a local church, which I still attend. The church feels like ‘family’; people really look out for you. I’ve never had that kind of support before, from family – or anyone really. There’s still a long way to go before my family is reunited and it’s still an uphill struggle.

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