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 vital 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 is a single mother to a 4-year-old son and was heavily pregnant with her second child. She had no contact with her children’s father and no family support. Meryl was referred as she was residing where 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 child since she 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 her to complete the correct forms to apply for Universal Credit and Housing Benefit.
Meryl gave birth to a healthy baby girl at the beginning of 2021 and began collecting items for her ‘move 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. She was invited to sit exams for Math and English and even though she was nervous, she passed both after revising hard. She was accepted on an access course for midwifery and started 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 was supported to apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) to help cover the deposit.
Meryl reached out to staff often when she felt she required support. This was an exciting time as it represented an entire fresh start. Months earlier, Meryl did not feel like she could cope mentally. But she now lives independently again. She said: “You know what? even if everything about my circumstances meant I should be in a bad mood, I wasn’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.