Working towards independent living

Shane Isaac arrived at the Swindon Foyer in August 2016. The Foyer provides safe accommodation for people facing homelessness between the ages of 16 and 25, as well as ongoing support to help its resident reach their aspirations. Here, Shane reflects on his experience of supported housing and how the Foyer has helped him change his life for the better.

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When I first came to the Foyer, my anxiety was at an all-time low and as a result, so was my self-esteem. I struggled to make conversation with any of the residents and despite their efforts, the staff members too.

Nonetheless, everyone made me feel welcome and as I began to settle in, I was able to develop professional relationships with some of the Foyer’s coaches. They were happy to just listen to my thoughts and find out what I was interested in, with the goal of helping me to identify a series of courses to enrol on and help me towards my own aspirations.

I have completed a number of wellness workshops from Lift Psychology including anger management and handling stress, which were created specifically for men. In addition to this, I have been able to develop my general skills like letter writing, IT and maths, all with the encouragement of the Foyer’s team and coaches.

I have also been able to explore some of my hobbies and I’m now even captain of the Futsall team – which plays every week – and a member of the Foyer’s gardening project. As a member, me and some other residents were invited to represent the Foyer at a local apple orchard where we were able to make our own apple juice and learn about how the orchard is ran.

Clyde Wiley, a coach at the Foyer said “Over the years Shane has really invested in his personal development and fought to overcome a number of obstacles. Shane has formed a trusting relationship with our team, allowing us to work alongside him and get him the advice he needs. A few months ago, we realised that Shane may actually be suffering with a learning disability and by liaising with his social worker, we’ve been able to take the necessary steps to get a diagnosis and manage his case accordingly.”

“Shane has not had an easy journey,” continued Clyde. “A few months ago, Shane was a victim of fraud and it transpired that it was actually one of his family members that had committed the crime. With the support of another coach, Shane visited the bank and reported the incident, and following an investigation was reimbursed for the money stolen.

“This was an incredibly traumatic experience for Shane, especially as he’d come so far and made significant progress. The incident resulted in Shane cutting ties with the family member – who was actually the closest individual in his life – and so, our colleagues have given Shane as much support as possible by listening and giving Shane ownership of the issue.”

I’m grateful for everything the Foyer has given me, especially as all of the guidance and support has resulted in me securing my own place. Yes, just last week (August 21) I was given the good news and in the next two months, I will begin my next adventure and be moving into another Stonewater home but independently.

For more information about the Swindon Foyer, click here.