Two years ago, just before Christmas, Lydia and her family went on a short holiday. Returning to their flat several days later, Lydia’s partner and eldest child went to collect their luggage. Tragically, they were involved in a car accident, and both lost their lives. Two days later Lydia’s Nan, who had raised her, died of heart failure.
From being in a happy and secure place, Lydia was plunged into a nightmare. This is her story, in her own words.
“it was coming up to Christmas time and my whole world was turned upside down. I didn’t know what to do. It was confusing; I had funerals, I had everything. I just couldn’t cope with it. I thought ‘what do you do your going from everything being perfect to everything turned upside down’?
Concerned that Lydia wasn’t coping with the situation, her family called Social Services, and Lydia’s youngest child was taken into care. Struggling to cope with losing contact with the one person who kept her going, Lydia began to search for something which would dull the pain of loss.
“I didn’t have time to grieve or anything I was concentrating fighting in getting my little boy back and 8 months down the line I still had no contact, so I did start to use drugs again. I left the house – I couldn’t cope going in it no more – and turned to the street.
I turned to working at takeaways – cash in hand for money and drugs – which led to prostitution because the drugs ended up getting a hold of us. From September through to March I was using drugs, selling drugs to make money to cover my habit. Doing everything that you shouldn’t be really. I’d ended up in a relationship, a very controlling relationship, he was using drugs, he was beating me up. We were going begging every day for money: it was horrible.
It’s not a good life. It’s nothing I’d done before, it’s nothing that I wanted to carry on doing. So one day I woke up after getting a hiding I thought ‘I cannot do this anymore’, I fled with just bags around my arms and went to the Civic Centre. They contacted Naomi Project at Oasis Aquila Housing. It was like a light at the end of a tunnel.
I’ve been here since July now and it’s just turned everything around. I’ve got hope again. I’m looking forward to Christmas this year. Last Christmas was terrible; I’d gone from my perfect little family – happy family – to nothing, sleeping in a back lane for Christmas. This Christmas I know I’ll not be turning to drugs, I know I will not be on the streets. I’ve been clean of drugs for some time now, that’s all down to Naomi Oasis Aquila Housing and now I’m just looking forward.
There is still work to be done, but I know they’re gonna be there for me. I know they’re gonna help; they’ve helped with a lot. Anything that you’ve got a problem with they try and find a solution in some way or some steps you can take to find the solution you need. And no one’s ever done that for me before. I’ve always been on me own to do it, but this time I was struggling. I didn’t know how to do it. So it was, you know, so nice there was someone there to be able to help. You can just open the door and have a coffee with the girls and explain ‘I’m having a really, really hard day’ and they are there. You can talk to them; they’ll talk to you.
I’d love to go out and work eventually when me confidence is back up and running when I’ve got more self-esteem. I still need time here; I know I do – nothing’s perfect – but I don’t think I’ll be going back down that way anytime soon cos I know I’ve got people here who will support us whenever I want.
This December, Lydia, and many other homeless young people, will be spending their Christmas with us. Please support them, by giving a donation here.