Mhairi left her family home as a teenager to move in with her boyfriend. When the relationship broke down she ended up homeless and living on the streets in Bournemouth. We’ve provided her with a safe place to stay and supported her as she works towards improving her situation.

“Some people think that a lot of homeless people end up on the streets because of drugs and alcohol, but that’s definitely not fair,” says Mhairi. “People are here for all kinds of reasons. Some have struggled with mental health difficulties and others have lost their home through no fault of their own. There are many reasons why you can end up homeless, and it can happen to anyone.”

Mhairi says she ended up at YMCA Bournemouth because she just couldn’t cope: “I used to work but I had really bad mental health and was a single mum. One day I just couldn’t do it anymore. YMCA has supported me by attending meetings and court cases with me, they’ve also helped me by putting a [mental health] crisis plan in place for when it is needed.

“It took some time to get used to living in the hostel. My biggest challenge has been adjusting to a lot of new situations, which is hard for me as I hate change and find it very difficult to deal with. But YMCA has helped me to realise that change isn’t always bad and to keep a positive mind. YMCA… staff and residents make you feel so welcome… I just feel safe.

“I am going to be starting college this year and am doing a course in social care. I want to improve my life for myself and my son [and to] help people like me.”