Posted 04/12/2020

From Our Front Line - Martha's Story

Our Supported Housing team provide accommodation to 366 people who have additional support needs, to enable them to live independently within the community. Accommodation is provided across a range of properties, including Sheltered Housing and Extra Care schemes for people aged 55 and over, Supported Living for people with learning disabilities, and Foyer schemes for young adults. Support is provided to ensure our residents can live in a safe environment and manage their day to day lives, along with activities that support their physical and mental wellbeing, reduce social isolation and promote community involvement. 

The work that our Supported Housing teams do makes a difference in people’s lives - often completely turning them around. The story below is just one of many examples of their incredible work.

Martha* moved into Dove Cott House (our Foyer for young people who are parents) in January 2019. At the time, Martha had an 11-month-old baby and was pregnant with her second child. She had severe anxiety and depression. Martha came from a family of fourteen children. Her two sisters closest to her sadly passed away from suicide. Physical and sexual abuse growing up at the hands of a relative had left her extremely timid and distrusting of others, including staff.

Martha had attachment issues when her partner was not with her full time. She became extremely volatile if she did not know his whereabouts. This unfortunately escalated into Domestic Violence on her part on the occasions she did not know where he was upon his return.

A safeguarding referral was made to Essex social care and Martha received dedicated support through social services. Martha was able to undergo counselling to help her deal with past trauma, as well as couples therapy with her partner.

During this time, Foyer staff offered her additional support. She attended a ‘Go Girls’ course which helps women to understand their feelings of self-worth and to build up confidence and she worked with her Swan Young Person’s Coach to put a plan in place for her future goals and dreams.

As of February, this year Martha has been signed off from social care due to great improvements in confidence, self-esteem, wonderful parenting skills and a complete change in her demeanor. Her and her partner decided maturely after couple’s therapy, that they would be best off as friends who co-parent.

This support has given Martha the confidence to not have to rely on others to make herself feel good and she does not have to be in unhealthy relationships anymore. She has applied for a college course to become a counsellor and is arranging to do this in the evening, to work around her children. She has changed her hair color, her dress sense, she smiles each day, has an infectious laugh you can hear from the office and now has high hopes for her future.

She has successfully now been put forward to live on her own in the community with her two little girls who are thriving, happy and healthy. Something she did not seem possible upon entering Dove Cott House - when her only thoughts were to give up.

This is just one element of the work that Swan does to transform lives and communities. Every day.


*name has been changed to protect the resident’s identity