Heather’s story

I identify as trans and have had lots of support around this from my recovery worker.

I am a service user at Cranbury Terrace, supported by Richmond Fellowship. I have mental health problems, which is why I need to live in supported housing. Previously I was living in a shared housing and had problems when someone exploited me for money. I have also previously lived in hospital and then a high-care service.

Then I was given the chance to move to Cranbury Terrace into my own supported flat. This was a breath of fresh air, I know I can lock my front door, and I am happier in myself at the property. I feel settled and am happy with my current housing situation. I can go to Andrew, a recovery worker, for support, and we meet in town and go for coffee, and he gives me support when I need it. He always makes time to see me and help when I am in distress.

Here I feel happy, secure and independent. I have more freedom, the area of the property is much easier for getting into town. I can go for coffee with my recovery worker and be supported to the local shops. My recovery worker will help me with food shopping when my mental health dips and I don’t feel able to do this by myself. If I wasn’t able to live in supported housing, I would probably have ended up back in hospital.

Supported housing has given me the confidence to be myself. I identify as trans and have had lots of support around this from my recovery worker. He helped arrange for me to go to the Gay Pride event in Portsmouth, and enabled me to go by sorting out my carer with my medication. He helped me get to the event and looked after me while I was there, and we had a laugh and I felt relaxed in the crowds. Without the support I wouldn’t have gone to the event.

At the event we went to the Richmond Fellowship stand, and my recovery worker helped me find information about being transgender. He introduced me to a transgender woman and we chatted, which was really helpful for me. My support worker went above and beyond to help me get to the event, I had an amazing day and felt part of the community and got to celebrate being trans and not be judged because of it.

Help raise awareness

Thousands of people have gained their independence through supported housing. The Starts at Home campaign aims to ensure that people who need extra support will always have a home that meets their needs.

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