Lives at young people leaving care scheme in Colchester.

Before I came here I had spent most of my life in and out of foster placements. My mum had mental health problems and couldn’t look after me at home. I was also bullied at school and I found mixing with people really hard.

I get really anxious around other people, especially talking to them, and find it difficult when anything changes. It got so bad that I couldn’t leave the house and my family had to make decisions about everything in my life.

Eventually I was referred to this place by the Leaving and After Care Team because they thought it would be a good place to help me get more independent and manage my mental health.

I did find it really hard when I first moved in and didn’t want talk to any of the staff or support workers. It was all too difficult and I became very anxious. I stayed in my flat and didn’t want to do anything new.

But slowly I got used to my key worker. I met with them regularly and eventually started to feel more comfortable. It took a while but I feel like I’ve really grown in confidence.

Supported housing is a place of safety for me. A place where I can learn new skills, interact with staff and other young people. It’s a place where I get support with my benefits, hospital appointments and understanding my tenancy. It’s a place where people notice me, my emotions and talk to me about getting professional help when I need it.

I have a home here, a place I can be happy.

Jamie’s support worker Christine explains a bit more about how the kind of support offered at the scheme:

Epping way is a specialist supported housing scheme for young people leaving care. We aim to offer individual, tailored support to help people feel more confident and better able to manage independently.

When Jamie moved in to the scheme he was very withdrawn and found it really difficult to engage with any of the staff. With a lot of patience and understanding he started to come to his support meetings where he started by just talking. As he grew more confident he opened up and allowed us to help him manage his home, health and anxiety.

Though he still suffers with anxiety but he understands his condition, talks about it with professionals, complies with his treatments and won’t let this condition limit him.

He has really made some improvements in the way he interacts with the other young people in the scheme, his friends and his family.

Jamie continues to gain confidence and enjoy life. The future definitely looks bright for this young man.