For the first 12 years of my life, I lived with my Great Grandparents. I had a home there, and I was warm, clothed and fed, but they struggled with alcohol addiction and so, from a young age, I looked after them both.

When I was 12 years old, my Great Grandparents passed away. I loved them both, but for the first time in my life, it felt like I only needed to worry about myself.

After my Great Grandparents passed away I went to live with my mum, her partner and my brother and sister. Living at Mum’s wasn’t easy. We would often go without food, heating or electricity and my mum’s partner would bully me – calling me names, or throwing rubbish at me out of the bin. I was also constantly bullied at school which made me feel like there was no one on my side.

Eventually I decided I couldn’t stand it anymore. I spoke to the teachers at my school about the situation at homed they contacted social services. For the next four years, I lived between my mum, nan and aunty, moving from house to house and never feeling like I had a stable home. I felt like a puppet on a string.

When I was 16, I felt like I couldn’t stay at home any longer. I went to the council for help and was placed in an emergency bed and breakfast. I stayed there for two weeks before moving into a 28-bedroom hostel, where I stayed for the summer.

Living at the hostel was terrifying. I was the youngest person in the hostel by a long way, and I barely slept for the first few nights. There was no bedding, so I had to use the clothes from my bag to keep warm. I had to keep checking my door was locked because I was so scared that someone would break in. I was scared to use the bathroom, because people would take drugs in there and there were often arguments taking place upstairs.

It was really difficult to keep going to college, but I was determined to keep learning. Eventually, a support worker from Llamau came to speak with me at college, and I moved into one of Llamau’s supported accommodation projects. Moving into Llamau, I felt as though it was what I had been wanting for so long. Finally, it felt like I had a home. I now live with my best friends, and it feels like I have my own little family.

Living at Llamau has made me feel more stable than ever. I’m studying Level 3 Law and Business at college and am the LGBTQ+ Officer at my college student union. In the future, I hope to go to university to study Law and become a barrister. My long term goal is to have a career that allows me to earn my own money and have somewhere that I can call home.

*Names and images have been changed