Chloe is from Bristol. This is an edited version of her story, as told to the AGM of charity One25 in autumn 2013.
“I have worked on the streets and been cared for by One25 for over ten years now. In that time on those dangerous streets they gave me daily love, care and respite from the chaotic lifestyle that I was caught up in. I would like to express my immense gratitude to them and to the [St Mungo’s] Women’s Hostel crash pad staff for their outstanding support. It very probably saved my life and enabled me to come into recovery and start making changes in my life.
“I am now six months clean and sober and I no longer work the streets. My life has changed beyond belief! I feel that without the support of One25 and the use of the crash pad when I was homeless and vulnerable I would not be where I am today. A million thanks.”
Karen, an Addiction Treatment Caseworker from One25 said: “At One25, we support women through all the different stages of their journey. We know that in order for a woman to make changes, she needs to have first built a trusting relationship with a service and its people. One25 are not unique in providing this however and we could not produce excellent outcomes in isolation. We work together with a range of excellent services in Bristol to enable any woman seeking change to take the necessary steps to accomplish their goal.
“Chloe’s story clearly shows how various agencies – One25, St Mungo’s women’s hostels, drugs services, probation and prison teams came together to change a woman’s life. Together we supported Chloe in her harrowing journey from the street to prison, back to the street, sickness, isolation and despair until she finally sought and gained the help that she so desperately needed.”
Hazel is One25’s Criminal Justice Caseworker. She said: “Today, Chloe is six months clean from drugs, is a mother of one and no longer works the streets. Eighteen months ago, however, her situation was totally different.
“It was during Chloe’s sentence at Eastwood Park prison that she started accessing addiction support services there and was referred onto me. I sat down with Chloe, explained how we could help, and visited her weekly, building up a good rapport and trusting relationship. She started to open up to me and I worked hard with her around her motivation to change and how to avoid her usual pattern of relapse following prison release. On one visit Chloe told me “I want to escape from the violence and danger on the streets – I want to get clean” and asked if she could go into rehab on release from prison. This was fantastic news!
“Once she had decided she wanted rehab, I brought in Karen and we contacted St Mungo’s to see if Chloe could use their emergency crash pad to help stabilise her. St Mungo’s were fantastic and asked us to bring her down straight away. We were able to reassure Chloe that she would be safe and supported for the remaining weeks and she was visibly relieved.”
Tracey from St Mungo’s said: “Our women’s service supported Chloe from March this year. We worked closely with One25, with support agencies, a local GP and others while she was with us and before she went into rehab. During that month she looked healthier, happier and more self-confident and her self-esteem had increased – and she made it safely into detox.”
Karen said: “Chloe has now completed rehab, is living in a house out of Bristol and is six months free from all drugs. More than that, we received a text from her to say she has just been accepted on an Access course to mental health nursing in September - she’s so excited. And in her words, she wants to ‘give back.’”
To read more case studies of clients, please visit the Real Life Stories page on the St Mungo’s website.