Polly’s Story

After myeloid leukaemia turned Polly’s life upside down, supported housing has reassured her family, and brought her safety and fulfilment.

In 2004, Polly’s world as a hard working infant teacher and single parent of three teenagers fell apart. After being diagnosed with myeloid leukaemia, she lost her rented house, her job and nearly her life. Despite going into remission, after Polly’s children left home she found herself struggling with congestive heart failure resulting from her chemotherapy treatment. Unable to manage the stairs in her home, she realised something had to change. That’s when supported housing changed everything.

“I was eligible for sheltered housing and was offered a flat in Fairholme, a sheltered housing scheme previously owned by Sussex Housing & Care, which was just around the corner. The day I viewed the flat I felt sad, like my life was over! How did I end up here? My daughter hugged me and reassured me that it was my choice but I would have a secure tenancy at last and support when I needed it.”

“How grateful I became for the manager, my neighbours and the pull-cord (I used it twice to call an ambulance). It was a relief to feel safe and my children were set free from the worry that Ma would be ill alone.”

“Now, six years on, I am well, thanks to a pacemaker, and I live a full life. The wonderful gardens here have been a salvation and I am helping to renovate them. Yoga, music and quizzes here and walking, singing and social events outside help bring me fulfilment.”

“After years of uncertainty, I have found a safe haven.”

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.

Get involved