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Elizabeth House Leah's story

Elizabeth House: Leah’s story

Sometimes people need a team around them before they can manage their own home, which is why we run several supported accommodation projects. Projects like Elizabeth House in Gateshead.

Elizabeth House’s nine bedrooms provide 24-hour supported accommodation for vulnerable young women who have become pregnant or who have children. Due to their high needs, the women are offered a chance to spend two years at Elizabeth House giving them the best and often last chance to keep custody of their child.

In 2020, Elizabeth House celebrated its twentieth anniversary.

The new mums learn the skills needed to effectively parent including child safety, boundary setting, budgeting and cooking skills amongst others. We support the young women to access ‘wrap around’ support from social workers, midwives, healthcare professionals while offering the best home environment experience for them to mirror and take forward with them.

Leah and her daughter came to live at our Elizabeth House project.

Leah’s story

I came here because I had nowhere else to go.

I was 16 when I fell pregnant and it was terrifying. I’ve only ever had one boyfriend and I was barely a woman.

My mum helped me out a lot but she has bipolar disorder and when her health went downhill again I went to live with my boyfriend’s family. It was so crowded that I began to sofa surf with friends. I was frightened that social services would get involved and my health nurse suggested I come to Elizabeth House.

I was nervous at first and worried about living with other people, but now I don’t want to leave. The staff here are really special – they were lovely from the start. I used to fly off the handle if they tried to help me, but now I try to take their advice.

They’ve helped me with budgeting, because I used to just spend my money all at once, and they helped me sort out my benefits. I didn’t know I was allowed anything and I’d just been relying on my family. They also taught me to cook and how to keep my room nice.

I want a part-time job when my daughter starts nursery. I want to start there and build it up.

I’d like a place of my own and I’d like to manage on my own for at least a year before I live with my boyfriend. I want to be able to look after myself and rely on myself.

I look back and it could all have been different. I could have had my daughter taken off me. But I didn’t, she’s with me, and she’s a really friendly, happy kid. I’m a confident mum now.