I was abused as a child and it’s fair to say that life has been really tough as an adult too. I escaped an abusive relationship, but fell in with the wrong crowd and started taking drugs.
Things went downhill very badly; I was so violently raped that I was left for dead, with no jaw, no teeth and burns. I was sleeping in a drug den and felt empty, like I was nothing.
I wound up in prison for stealing – which is when life started to turn around for me. I met Andy (the prison chaplain) and heard about the Alpha Course. I was put in touch with Hope Into Action and in September 2014 a lovely lady called Carol came to visit me. She’s amazing; never judgemental and always very kind. I love Carol. (Carol is her mentor from the partner church.)

When I was released, members of the church met me at the prison gates. Hope Into Action gave me a place to call home and its partner church (St Peter’s) helped me to furnish it. It took a month for my benefits to come through, so the Foodbank and church mentors fed me in the meantime.
I met my housemate, Dana, and her daughter Hope, the day I moved into the Hope into Action house. We’re like a little family now, we’re really close.
I’ve received help to work out a repayment plan for my debts and for the first time in my life, I have a proper bank account, so I can be more organised with my finances.
I’ve had a lot of support to stay clean of drugs and feel positive about my future. Hope into Action arranged for me to see a counsellor once a week to talk about the rape and abuse and I’m finally getting my health sorted out. I even have a new set of teeth – done by someone in my church. People say I smile more now, which isn’t surprising, because for the first time in years I feel a sense of hope – like life’s worth living.

I have four grown up children, who I talk to on the ‘phone. Earlier this year, I got back in touch with other members of my family who I hadn’t seen for well over a decade. Now I’ve got my mum back and my brother and sister. I’m ‘Auntie Bev’ to my eight nieces and nephews – it’s amazing.
The support I’ve received from Hope Into Action has been a lifesaver, they’re like a safe harbour in a storm and I honestly don’t know where I would be now without their help. I’d probably be on the streets, or in a filthy drug den. It doesn’t bear thinking about.
In the future, I would like to move into my own place, closer to where my mum and my sister live, so that I can be near them and watch my nieces and nephews grow up.

For more stories from the 2014/2015 Annual Review here

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