My mother was a long term alcoholic: some weeks were fine the others not. Life was hard! Distant family took me in sometimes but there was no support to work on building a better relationship, so those relationships broke down. My life felt pretty hopeless as I had no motivation and was at a point when I didn’t care anymore. At this time clashes between my mother and I escalated and I realised I had to escape. Sometimes you just need to escape!
I remember being terrified about moving into the YMCA: the thought of living alone was incredibly strong, but once I got there I was relieved – I finally had my own space to think and to be myself even though I was still unsure about which direction my life was going to go.
While at Ripon YMCA staff spoon-fed and taught me lots that I previously hadn't got a clue about:
Rent and bills were simple to handle
They helped fill in applications for benefits
They sourced extra financial support for when I attended school
They had contacts for careers advice
But the thing that I found helped me the most was the fact that staff gave me their time; they listened; they didn't judge; they saw that I wasn't a bad person, but was a person who had lost her way and didn't have the right support around her to find her way back.
After 2 years at Ripon YMCA, staff supported me in applying to do a Youth Work qualification at University and I left the YMCA on a high note. I have never looked back, but I have also never forgotten what they did for me.
If I could give any advice to a prospective tenant today it would be this:
Give Ripon YMCA a chance: it's not a place for all the low-lifes to go, but a place that will provide you with everything you need to turn your life around or move forward -You just need to want it.
I am so pleased to write about my experience at Ripon YMCA because it truly did help me to turn my life around: I am now married with two lovely children. I trained at University in London and I am a qualified Youth Worker, but most importantly… I found the way forward when life was dark and I feel like a normal person living life to the full. I still have hard times like everyone else, but when I look back and see how life has changed I am reminded that there is always a way forward from hardship to hope.
there is always a way forward
from hardship to hope
Bryony left Ripon YMCA a number of years ago, but wanted to share her story. Wherever you are at in life, there is always hope; there is always a way forward; there is always help at hand when we open ourselves up to that support and help. If you would like to support our work of helping young people to build a better future please email CEO@riponymca.org or call our office on 01765 607609