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Read on to find out how YMCA MK provided Steven with the stability he needed in order to work towards his employment goals. 

Before I arrived at YMCA Milton Keynes I was in care. I had an arrangement that meant when I turned 18, I would be able to stay in care for another three years, but I would have to pay rent. Two days after my 18th birthday, an incident happened that meant that it was no longer safe for me to stay where I was living.

I was given several options by the council and one of those was to move into the YMCA. I moved into stage 1 and at first, I kept myself to myself. I walked around with my hood up all the time and didn’t want to speak to anyone. I didn’t attend any activities or engage with anyone.

I went through a period of not doing anything – showering, taking care of my personal hygiene, cleaning my room, etc. This carried on for eight months. One day, I asked myself if this was how I wanted to live. I needed to change before it was too late. You could say I slapped myself in the face with reality. So, I started buying products for my bathroom to clean it. I began to look after myself and got my hair cut. The change happened within the space of a week and people saw a completely different version of me.

When I first joined YMCA, my keyworker was called Dean and I’m now supported by Maddy. They helped me to get an assessment for my autism, which means I will be able to access different support systems. I was also really helped by one of the Employment Coaches, Lorraine. She constantly supported me and helped me with my CV and preparing for job applications.

I now work at John Lewis on the shop floor in the menswear department. I enjoy the role and it’s helping with my confidence. Around the campus I am trying to speak to more people. I still find it difficult, but I want to push myself. I also started playing football every week, which is one of the activities organised by YMCA.

Talking about the number of young people in Milton Keynes who are in need of housing, Steven said:

“It’s not fair for young people to be street homeless. It’s good to give young people on the verge of homelessness a second chance to prove themselves and help themselves. YMCA MK gives young people that chance.”