If you'd told me ten years ago that I would have just graduated university, I wouldn't have believed you

My mum really did try her best to be a good mum and I know that she loved me, but from a young age I knew that my mum was using drugs and struggling to manage her debts. My mum found life really difficult to cope with, and didn't know who to ask for help.

I was still at school when I became homeless. For quite a few years, the only reason I'd been to school was so that I could have a meal - it was often the only meal I'd have that day. But over my years in school I realised that I actually quite enjoyed it and wanted to carry on going so that I could give myself a chance in life. 

I moved into one of Llamau's houses when I was 18, and that was when I realised that I could achieve my dreams if I wanted to. When I moved in I wasn't sure if I would still be able to go to university - whether I'd be able to carry on studying for my A-Levels and get the grades I needed. But Llamau helped me to see that with their support, I could achieve anything I wanted to. 

It was quite hard studying for A-Levels in a shared house but my support workers encouraged me to chase my dreams every step of the way, and even supported me with completing application forms for university and for student finance. When I found out that I'd got a place at the University of South Wales, it made all the hard work worth it. I was actually really scared when the day came to leave Llamau's accommodation and move into student halls - I wasn't sure I'd cope. Llamau's support, though, had taught me how to live independently and if I ever needed any more help, they were always at the end of a phone. 

Going to university was one of the best things I've ever done. It has allowed me to meet new friends and experience a different way of life. I was so happy when I graduated and am very much looking forward to becoming a social worker in the future. If you'd told me ten years ago that I would have just graduated from university, I wouldn't have believed you.

Llamau taught me to stand on my own two feet and showed me that anything is possible.

I honestly believe that it does not matter where you come from, you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it. 

*Names and images have been changed