young man sits crouched on curb

James' story

By the age of just 17, James had lost both parents and was homeless.

James grew up in Stockton, his Dad served in the army and his Mum worked in pubs and hotels. His parents had a volatile relationship largely fuelled by drinking, and violent arguments were common in the house. James remembers:

"My mum often collapsed in the street after drinking and I remember having to go and help her back home."

For a time, James* was put into care.

“I didn’t think I would have a future…”
 
James’ Mum developed health problems as a result of alcohol abuse and died when James was ten years old. It was just a few years later when James’ Dad became ill and developed cancer. James was 17 when his Dad died. He says:

"This was a terrible part of my life, I was all alone, and I didn’t think I would have a future."

James was sent to live with an aunt but the house was overcrowded, and he was forced to sleep in the living room. As a result he ended up living between his aunt’s and his friends’ houses – sleeping on floors and sofas. Eventually he sought help and was referred to Community Campus, a project funded by LandAid.

“I became more confident in myself”
 

James was offered accommodation in a large property, shared with four other people. James remembers:

"It was a bit scary at first but the support workers helped me settle in. I’m a very private person but I was encouraged to attend the weekly house meetings and I became more confident in myself."

After a year in shared accommodation, James moved into his own flat. He was given a grant to furnish the property and began work on his first independent home.

James is now 20. He still sees his support worker but feels much more confident in leading an independent life. And if he decides he needs more support, he knows that Community Campus will be there for him.

*James' name has been changed and a model was used in the photo to protect his anonymity