YMCA Cornwall

Support & Advice


Family Work

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Case Studies


“My support officer has been an amazing help – so understanding and beneficial for my rehabilitation. Without her I would never have done this.”
When Carl was a child he suffered years of physical, emotional and financial abuse at the hands of his father. He had a close relationship with his mother but she was unable to protect him from the abuse. He continued to live with his parents until, aged 17, he could take no more.
Carl left the family home with nowhere to go and resorted to sofa-surfing for several months. He was unable to find anywhere affordable to live due to a severe shortage of housing in the area and was repeatedly let down by local support agencies with interminably long waiting lists.
He needed somewhere safe to live and specialist support to help him deal with the trauma he had experienced. When support is unavailable for a long time, issues can become magnified. As a result of being unable to cope with the trauma and instability he had experienced, Carl became angry and disaffected, eventually turning to drugs as a way to escape from overwhelming feelings of despair. His drug addiction escalated due to peer pressure and he overdosed several times.
When Carl was 18 he got in touch with our housing team and was soon able to move into his own self-contained flat. With a safe place to live and the help of his dedicated support officer, Carl was able to access specialist support from local agencies, commit to further education at the local college and make plans for the future. He has overcome his drug addiction and with help from a counsellor and psychotherapist is developing coping mechanisms to help him move forward from the trauma he experienced.
Since moving to YMCA Cornwall, Carl’s life has been transformed and he is now a motivated, engaged young man who has recently completed his college course with the exceptional achievement of completing 3 A levels in only 10 months. He is ready to move to a place of his own, putting the past behind him and looking forward to embarking on a promising career.


Ben grew up in an abusive family in an environment of parental neglect and emotional manipulation. Beatings were common, there was often no food in the house and Ben was frequently locked in a cupboard under the stairs.
Ben was eleven years old before the abuse came to light and he was placed in foster care.
Despite multiple disadvantages and struggling with severe depression and anxiety, Ben achieved excellent GCSE results and was planning to study at the local college. However, when he was 16 his foster placement broke down due to difficulties within the family and Ben was at risk of becoming homeless.
Ben was referred to YMCA Cornwall as a high priority case and was able to move into a self-contained flat. With the help of our dedicated support officer, he developed the necessary life skills that many people learn from their family, enabling him to live independently and carry on with his studies while starting to make plans for the future.
Despite needing ongoing help from his support officer and referrals to the eating disorder service and the community mental health team, Ben was a valued and popular member of our YMCA community. During his two year stay he volunteered as a Resident Rep and redrafted the Welcome Pack for new tenants while completing his Further Education course at the local college. He also actively volunteered in the community and managed to secure a part time job.
When Ben completed his course and was ready to move out of supported accommodation into his own flat, our resettlement team helped throughout the moving process and continued to provide support for a further six months to ensure he settled in well. He is now at University studying towards a degree and continues to thrive living in a place of his own.


My mom and dad split up when I was 5. I didn’t get on with my mum so I went to live with my dad, but he became homeless and we stayed in B&Bs for a while.
I had to move back in with my mom until I left school. We had terrible arguments every day. I had to get away.
I travelled around and stayed overnight with friends, but I struggled to attend my college course and eventually dropped out.
I was embarrassed to tell people about my situation but my best friend could see I needed help and suggested I phoned YMCA Cornwall. After meeting with the housing team I moved into a room the next week, then into one of their flats. It was so good to have my own space.
My support worker helped me to take on adult responsibilities, budget for bills and food, apply for jobs and go for walks outdoors and be active. It was the first time I’d had a proper routine – getting up in the morning, going out in the day and sleeping properly at night.
I’m looking into doing a course at college now.
Living at the YMCA is a fresh start for me, a wake-up call to sort myself out. I feel responsible for my own life and I’ll never get into that situation again.