I came to the UK in 2015, around the age of 15. My brother and I were trying to find a place to live. We spent a year and a half in a hostel and then we were offered a place. I’ve never lived on my own before, so I felt like I still needed some more experience before doing that.
When we first arrived in the country, we were really struggling with being able to speak English and communicate with the outside world, so I really wanted help with that. I wanted to be able to say yes, no, I’m hungry, I like you – all those kinds of things. I was going to college, but I needed support outside of that.
My social worker suggested supported lodgings to me. I didn’t know what they were, so he explained that I would get to meet the family and stay with them for a week and then decide if it was right for me. I spent the first night with the family. On the second night, I told them that I wanted to stay.
I ended up living in supported lodgings for two or three years and I was really happy. We’ve become a family.
My brother and I don’t celebrate Christmas, but we’ve spent two Christmases with the family and really enjoyed getting to know the Christmas celebration. I’ve learned a lot of things that I never thought I would from living with them.
I moved out a year and a half ago but I’m still in contact with the family. They’re really supportive. They live in Keynsham and when I moved out of their house, I knew I wanted to stay in Keynsham, and I persuaded my brother to move here too.
I work as a carer in a social care home. I picked this job because I want to pay back to the community. I’ve tried very hard to pay back my supported lodgings family, but they’ve always said that I don’t have to. So I thought of working in care to pay back to the community.
I work in Keynsham and I take care of elderly and disabled people. Sometimes I work with the supported lodgings team too, to help them with young people who are new to supported lodgings. I’ve talked to them and told them about supported lodgings and what it is and how it has helped people like me.
Supported lodgings taught me English, how to share, communicate and become responsible and reliable. I learned how to cook, how to manage budgets, pay bills, and control the environment around me. It was a big deal for me.
I really try to do good in my life. I’ve seen a lot of people getting onto the wrong path, only because they didn’t get the support they needed. I didn’t want to be rich, I didn’t want to be making a lot of money, I just wanted to be good to people. I really enjoy helping other people.