Women’s Service Case Study – *Meryl's story
Services such as our Bridge House service, where pregnant women or those with young children can reside and receive help and support are vital. They provide a safe and stable environment at critical times in women’s lives. They help to keep mothers and children together and offer the women practical support, an opportunity to develop skills as well as a chance to get training or return to education. In short, staff prepare the women to move into independent living as well as hope and a future. Below we look at Meryl’s case.
In November 2020, Meryl became a resident at Bridge house. She was a single mother to a 4-year-old son and was heavily pregnant with her second child. She has no contact with her children’s father and no family support. MK was referred as she was residing somewhere that she didn’t feel safe. She was very low and tearful daily at the start of her stay. She was worried about how she was going to cope with a second baby since she wasn’t working, had no income and was worried about her residency status. She had never claimed benefits before.
With support, Meryl moved into her room and met with the other residents and quickly made friends.
Staff supported Meryl to complete the correct forms to enable her to apply for Universal Credit and Housing Benefit.
Meryl gave birth to a healthy baby girl at the beginning of the year. She has since been collecting items bit by bit for when she moves on and helping other residents when she could.
Meryl applied for a new school for her son, which in turn inspired her to apply to attend university. MK was invited to sit exams for Math and English and even though she was nervous, she passed both after revising hard. MK has now been accepted on an access course for midwifery and starts in July.
Mery has applied for residency renewal & and is awaiting the results.
Meryl and her keyworker searched for properties and eventually found a suitable one local to her son’s school and her course location. She has applied for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) to help cover the deposit.
She has reached out often when she felt she required support and has engaged fully with staff. This is such an exciting time as it represents an entire fresh start. A few months ago, Meryl did not feel like she could cope mentally. But she is now ready to live independently again. She said: “You know what? even if everything about my circumstances means I should be in a bad mood, I won’t! Because look at me! I’ve come so far and I’m doing great. I’m so happy now more than ever.”
Meryl is very motivated to succeed thanks to the help and support she received at Bridge House.
*Meryl’s real name has been changed to protect her identity.