Liam's story

Liam lived on the streets of Nottingham for four months.

He’d been experiencing family trouble, was in debt and had low self-esteem. Liam remembers:

‘I was £700 in debt. I didn’t eat. I didn’t drink.’

Hungry and alone, Liam turned to Nottinghamshire YMCA, a LandAid-funded project, for help, referring himself to their hostel in the city centre.

 ‘I can talk to people normally…’

Liam was introduced to a Youth Tenancy Officer, Heather, who helped him pay his debts and learn to budget. She also helped with his self-confidence, which was hugely lacking when he first arrived at the YMCA. He explains:

‘One to one sessions really helped me, they bring you out. I can talk to people normally.’

As well as benefit and employment support, the YMCA also helped Liam with reading, writing, cooking, cleaning and emotional needs.

‘Now I’m happy, I’m living my own life…’

After a short period of time, Liam was encouraged to move out of the hostel into a shared transitional home, a step towards independent living. Although unsure about how he’d cope with extra independence at first, Liam has settled into his new home. He says:

‘With the confidence I’m feeling now, I really feel like I can do it by myself. I can clean, I can cook, I’ve paid all my debts. 6 months ago I don’t think I’d have even been able to do this interview to be honest. I just wouldn’t be able to. Now I’m happy, I’m living my own life’

Liam, now 21, is planning his future. He’s considering doing a course through the Prince’s Trust at a fire station, and is hoping to improve his reading and writing. And as for the YMCA, Liam is in no doubt that it helped him turn his life around:

‘Life is better now.’