Saltbox’s Supported Housing Service Helps Local Client ‘Restart’ Her Life


Posted in Saltbox News on

Lynn, from Newcastle-under-Lyme, has been a Restart client since May 2014. She shares how much her life has changed for the better during this time. Having a history of drug and alcohol abuse, Lynn claims she ‘would be in custody now if not for Restart’. With no friends or family apart from her 12 year old son, who has been unable to stay with her in the past, Lynn has come a long way with the support of dedicated Restart staff.  

Lynn became a client of the Restart service shortly after serving a 3 month sentence for a minor offence. After her release she was at risk of being homeless. She explains, ‘I had a really bad alcohol and methadone problem, but my support worker Collette helped me to address my addictions by guiding me and letting me know the downfalls of what drink does.’   

[Lynn with support worker Collette Pickford]

Although Lynn has spent the last 14 months in Restart supported accommodation, her deteriorating health made it increasingly clear that it was time for the next step on her journey. With guidance from Restart staff, Lynn needed to take on her first independent tenancy in a suitable property.

[Lynn's cozy bungalow, suited to her healthcare needs]

Lynn’s sciatica and osteoporosis made it difficult to climb stairs and living in Restart terraced housing wasn’t ideal, but she tried to make the best of it. ‘I felt lucky to have a roof over my head and if you help yourself in a Restart house, they see that you are trying and do their best to support you.’

Despite all the support Restart offered, Collette Pickford, Female Support Worker at Restart,  tells us that taking on an independent tenancy not only catered to Lynn’s healthcare needs, it also gave her the chance to have her son stay over, an opportunity that was not previously afforded to her. Collette explains that ‘as Restart accommodation is shared, children cannot visit or stay over. Although this is important to our female clients, it is simply too dangerous.’

Due to her medical condition, Restart was able to help Lynn apply for appropriate social housing and within a couple of days an accessible bungalow became available. Collette adds ‘Lynn had become so deflated and it was a trigger to move on. The bungalow came at the right time and it was just what she needed to regain her confidence.’

Although the housing application was approved, the journey was far from complete as Lynn explains ‘I couldn’t have moved in on my own.  At the time I didn’t even own a fork, knife or spoon.’  Ann Riddle, Money Matters Adviser at Saltbox, supported Lynn with benefits and budgeting advice to help on her journey toward independent living.   

[Lynn with Ann Riddle, Money Matters Adviser]

Moving is the most chaotic time in anyone’s life, I’m pleased we could support Lynn. It’s a massive transition and this is when Lynn needed us most. The whole team pulled together and helped fully furnish the house so Lynn was able to turn it into a home.  Moments like this really make my job worthwhile, because I have never seen Lynn this happy.  - Collette Pickford, Female Support Worker at Restart

When asked about her journey so far, Lynn says that ‘If it wasn’t for Restart I wouldn’t be where I am today which is in my own little bungalow. I am now able to have my son sleep over which I could not do before. At this part in my life everything is good thanks to Restart.‘

Lynn is over the moon to have gained time with her son, her privacy and her independence. ‘I am most grateful and appreciative when I’m sitting here watching the telly and my son can come round. If it weren’t for Restart and the support from Collette I could’ve been in the gutter.’

As part of Saltbox’s commitment to supporting vulnerable people in the City, the Restart service was created to address the needs of ex-offenders. It provides a safe place to deal with life's challenges, whilst positively looking towards the future. The service offers supported accommodation and guidance from a social worker to help individuals achieve and maintain independent living. For more information on the service and how referrals work, contact the Restart team on 01782 815879 or restart@saltbox.org.uk






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