Become a Foster Carer

Young Person’s Voice – 2020

With everything happening in 2020, COVID-19, Lockdown one and two, its understandable everyone is tensed and stressed.

It’s a normal reaction when your whole life gets thrown upside down and the routines that you have had in place for so long change because we have routines for a reason, they are there to help us maintain and contain a schedule and our body’s and brains react well in keeping things in a somewhat order.

For me 2020 started well, I was a little bit ill in December 2019, taking antibiotics but that soon went away, and I ended up spending a lovely Christmas with my mum and had my first attempt at making a Christmas dinner on my own and if I do say myself it was lovely but maybe next time, I won’t burn the roasted veg.

I was attending college for the first time in 3 years, I had gone back to do an access course in Social Science and gain UCAS points to hopefully attend University but sadly that didn’t go to plan as the news broke out about the COVID-19 cases and the first lockdown happening.

At first, I wasn’t too worried about lockdown as it was only going to be for 4 weeks and then things would go back to normal, but 4 weeks became 6, and 6 became 8, and so on.

While attending a zoom call with my college class, my teacher told us that our course has been stopped and we will be getting estimated grades for the rest of the course work we didn’t get to do based on how they thought we would have done on the work by how we had done on the work we had already handed in.

I was frustrated about this as I knew my grades so far were not very good. The subjects we had done, I was no good at and found them incredibly difficult. Looking at the work we would have done if we continued the course, I knew I could have got higher grades as most of the focused-on subjects that I had experienced first-hand or had done parts of while doing my childcare course.

As the lockdown went on and being stuck inside, I became more reliant on sleeping in the daytime and being awake and playing games in the night-time, as I struggled with not being able to go out and see my family or friends.

Struggling with mental health issues during this pandemic has been such a struggle as my stress levels were so high, I started getting stress headaches again and not being able to eat properly. It made me feel so numb as I was trying to suppress how I was truly feeling just to try to keep me somewhat sane so I didn’t break down. The loneliness of it all, not being able to hug someone. I was just wanting human contact.

At the time I was living with 2 other housemates in a supported house. The support workers were amazing throughout out the whole thing, we started to get 2 sometimes more welfare cheques a day and the main manager decided to use our home as her main workplace, so we got that human interaction from the outside world and she helped us with reminding us about our crises plans and what to do if we started feeling the darkness take over.

As the first lockdown went on, I had formed my little bubble with my mum (who lived on her own and was a key worker, so was getting tested regularly), with this bubble I started to feel myself again, little by little and it helped to have someone I could go for the daily walk with and not feel so alienated from the rest of the world.

When the lockdown was lifted, I knew things were not going to go back to normal as there was already talk about a second lockdown happening, but I choose to put that in the back of my mind and enjoy the rest of the summer and my birthday.

Sadly, that happiness didn’t last for very long.

In September time I was told about there was a chance the supported house I was living in was getting shut down and for weeks there were whispers between the higher-ups on the company who owned the supported house.

I had been looking for a private flat since June but sadly there had been not much luck as I’m not working and currently receiving universal credit, over the years there has been much controversy of people on benefits and I found it really damaged some landlords into accepting people on benefits.

Early October time, I was told at the end of the month the council are stopping funding for the support workers in the field that works with the two supported homes that were run by the people who run my home.

My support worker and I kept asking the company who owned the house I was living in to give out an eviction notice, I know this may sound a little crazy but the reason we needed a date they wanted us out for it because the homeless team couldn’t help us otherwise and trying to find a private landlord to take someone on universal credit these days seemed impossible as I had been trying since June.

The company finally decided to give them out but stating I needed to be gone and out of the property in 9 days by this time I was in such a mess, mentally and emotionally.

Sadly, this was not enough time for the homeless team to help me find a place but lucky the care leavers team I am with were able to find me an emergency bed for 15 working days, enough time for the homeless council team to help find me a more semi-permanent place.

The 9 days went by so fast, well for me it felt so fast, I was in what felt like a trance, a nightmare. I can’t remember much from that 9 days but from what I do remember there was a lot of crying and pain, a lot of anger outbursts.

I remember when the day came when the staff member came from care leavers was coming to help me move to the emergency bed, I remember sitting on the bathroom floor in a complete mess, I had a bad panic attack that day, it felt like my whole body was on fire, my heart for going jump out of my chest, nothing felt real, I just wanted to curl up in a ball and stay there.

With everything that had happened in 2020, for me this was one of the worst things, I had been in foster care for a year and a half, then I moved to a supported lodging for a year and then I moved to this place (supported housing). I knew it wasn't forever, but it was the first place in so long that I felt settled in so many years. I needed more time to brace myself for the move, for the big change but I wasn't given that.

For a company who was dealing with teenagers and young adults from the foster system or troubled backgrounds, if feel they should have known better or dealt with the situation so much better than they did.

Don't get me wrong the company my support workers were from, they were amazing, and they tried to help us as much as they could. But the company who owned the house did not.

Within a week of me moving to this emergency bed, lockdown 2 happened and I wasn’t living in my home or anywhere near people I knew.

In a few weeks, I had lost what still feels a lot, I had lost my support worker who had helped me thought so much and has made me a better person, I also lost my mental health support and I had lost the place I called home, I knew it wouldn’t last forever but I finally felt somewhat stable in my living there.

In the time I lived in the emergency bed and in lockdown 2, my mental health suffered more, but from what I can remember, the lady’s who owned the home was amazing and so lovely, she made me feel welcome, she went out of her way to help with getting places to see properties for rent.

Now I’m living in an HMO private shared house with 4 others and we have had our ups and downs with each other and being new in each other's lives, it somewhat feels like living with siblings again, this place is only for 6 months but it’s the hope that I’m able to find a place of my own in that time, a place more local to me and a place I can call home.

For 2020 Christmas, I was going to go spend it with my mum but sadly with the sudden change in the rule with the UK government, it meant I couldn’t as I could not get down to my hometown as it would I required me using train transport to get there and back but trains do not run on Christmas day.

So, for the first-ever Christmas I spent it on my own, it wasn't too bad, I moved into the front room with my tv and watched a few movies, spoke to my sisters over the phone for a few houses and had pasta bake for dinner.

2020 was a difficult year, so many ups and downs happened in my life, I still trying to catch up with the emotional roller coaster to this day.

So many people lost their lives in 2020 to do with the pandemic and it’s a tragedy.

I have hopes that 2021 will bring better days, we may still have the up and downs, but I hope there will be more ups than downs.