Lisa’s Story

Lisa Smith came to the Centre a year ago and is now working in a nursery and studying for NVQs in childcare.  She is hoping to move to a Housing Association flat soon with help from staff at the Centre.
Lisa lived with her mother and step-father and 3 siblings in Thornton Heath in South London.  She stayed at school until she was 16 and passed her GCSEs she then got a job as a Receptionist. However, there were many problems at home and after becoming what she describes as “emotionally messed up” she left for the first time when she was 18.  She then moved into a homeless hostel for 8 months but lost her place there and eventually left and returned home.   After only 4 days back at home and after a series of rows with her parents she left once more but this time had to sleep rough.

“I was sleeping in parks and on the streets sometimes sleeping at friends places too but it was awful and so draining.  Not having anywhere to go to the toilet or have a shower or call your own is just terrible.  You cannot imagine what it is like until it has happened to you.  I don’t take these things for granted anymore when you always have them you don’t realise what it would be like to live without them. I hit rock bottom.

“I knew about the Centre from when I was in the other hostel so I turned up and talked to one of the staff.  She was really kind and I was offered a place here last April. It has really helped me build my confidence,  I was very low and really didn’t want to do anything when I first came here.  But everyone has given me personal time and been very supportive.  It has given me a solid base to work from.

“First of all I got a job at a shop in Hammersmith via the job centre but that was only for 3 months.  Then I had an interview with the job club people here and they helped me get a CV together and I started applying for other jobs.

“I am now really happy because I have got an apprenticeship in a nursery in Clapham. I work with children aged 10 months to 5 years and go to college one day a month to do NVQs in childcare.

“The Centre has changed my life and made me stronger.  I was always very protected as a youngster and even though I am working now I need to grow up.  I am not so depressed now and can face life.  The Centre really helped me out.  They are fair in the way they deal with you.  It’s like your own place and you are able to be happy and relaxed here.  It has so much to offer – much more than other places – you are given help with dealing with your problems, finding a job and housing.  I would hate for it to run down it’s got such a variety of things to offer and there are no other places like it”.


Lisa  is just one of many people work who come to the Centre every day, desperate for help. We know that with support from the Centre, people can change their life for the better.

But we can’t do it without you.

Please help to bring hope to people like Lisa, by making a donation to the Centre today: