Kieran has had to learn life skills the hard way, having grown up in care. He said “When I left care I was 17. They didn’t give me life skills to take with me into for the world. It was scary. I’ve grown up not knowing the basics of life. I’ve had to learn how to use a washing machine – at my age!” Kieran has found not knowing how to do simple things embarrassing at times, but has learnt to ask for support and accept all the help that is offered.
“I had to depend on people. That’s a hard thing for me. I don’t like to depend on people. At the same time, I didn’t want to live like that anymore.”
Kieran is 29 and was one of the first people to move into St Martins House, a hostel on Thorpe Road run by St Martins. Kieran has his own en-suite room, access to a shared kitchen and laundry facilities. He describes moving in at the end of December ‘like a Christmas present’.
Kieran experienced ‘the bottom rung’, as he describes his time sleeping rough. He said, “When I was on the streets, I felt not part of society. I kept myself quiet. I was not in the city. I was lucky that I had my sister, I had somewhere I could go to.”
Not wanting to jeopardise his sister’s tenancy by staying at hers too often, Kieran sought help from the Pathways team who advised him to go to the Arc in Pottergate to receive support. First, he stayed at the ‘Somewhere safe to Stay Hub’, St Martins assessment centre, then temporary accommodation at Barnard’s Yard in the city.
Kieran is making the most of opportunities offered to him, such as courses for personal development. He said, “This is what I like here; you can do things on your own terms. I’ve been developing my own personal skills. St Martins helped me a lot with that.”
“I’ve been here a month now. I’m already doing things and am quite independent. They don’t tell me to clean my room, I just do it anyway. I wasn’t always like that – I was quite a messy person. I didn’t clean up and I had no energy. Even my hygiene was quite bad at times.”
Kieran believes that this independence will stand him in good stead for when he moves into his own place, and knows he has to be patient in order to get there. His aim is to eventually work as a support worker. He said, “Ever since I’ve been in care it’s always been in my heart. Going back on my life I think of all the people that helped me out. I want to return the favour and help those that are in that life.”
Kieran’s faith is important to him. He said, “I’m a Christian. I’ve experienced grace. We are not to judge. God has helped me in my life to trust Him rather than people.”
This is what motivates him to want to help others. He knows he will never be perfect, but is developing the skills to cope with mistakes and anxiety. Kieran has built healthier routines and likes to keep busy. He said, “Cooking is something I never learnt to do. Growing up it was always microwave meals. I want to learn to batch cook. I never learnt to budget – I never had any money to budget with!”
Kieran’s outlook is positive; he now has a roof over his head, enough money for food, and dreams of getting a job to help others in the future.
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