Around 18 years ago Marion had to spend some time in the Women’s Aid Hostel as she was in a violent relationship and had two young children to think about. She approached Women’s Aid and was offered a room that same day. She could not continue to live in her house as it was in the same street as her partner’s parents so she feared for her safety and accepted the room at Women’s Aid. At this time she was told by the then EAC Housing department that she had made herself intentionally homeless – this made it difficult to get a house at first. Marion says that she had to scrape money together so that she could get a deposit together for a private let. This was in 1999 and it wasn’t until 2001 that she eventually got offered her first Council property. During these two years she spent time at Women’s Aid, at a private let and then at St Andrews Hostel as her ex-partner had found out the address of the private let. She was then moved into temporary accommodation within Kilmaurs. All in all Marion has counted up the time she spent between the hostels, temporary accommodation and Women’s Aid and it totalled twenty one months.
She has vivid memories of moving her two young children around with black bin bags at this point in her life, and sadly she says that this was the lowest point of her life. She thinks that this experience has mentally scarred her and states that she was at rock bottom during these months – both physically and mentally due to the stress of not having a home for her and her children. She has never been the same person since this happened.
She says at the time she didn’t get much support from her Housing Officer and if it wasn’t for her Support Worker from Woman’s Aid who helped her fight to get on the Housing list then she doesn’t know where she would be today. It caused total upset, panic and disrupted her whole life.
After the period spent in Kilmaurs, she was offered her first Council flat above the Dean Street shops – and she hated it, as she had to look out for discarded needles every day before her children could go out. She then moved to Crosshouse but that ended up being too small due to a new addition to the family. Marion was eventually housed in a 3 bedroom house that she could call home and is very settled now.
Marion had been signposted by the Job Centre to go along to the Volunteers Centre as she had expressed an interest in working with people who were either, homeless, had addictions or who were suffering from domestic abuse. She was linked in with a worker called Maureen who suggested that Marion attend Community Friends to volunteer. This was last year and Marion has now been volunteering within Community Friends since October 2015. She wanted to volunteer as she has been working with elderly people since she was 15 years old and thoroughly enjoys it but feels that due to her own experiences she has a lot to offer people who are at their most vulnerable. Marion feels that by giving her time at Community Friends, and just giving someone the opportunity to have a wee chat and one to one really helps people. The group members have been really opening up to Marion and she has been able to give people advice about their problems. She has also helped people to fill in forms when requested to do so. Marion feels strongly that she would want to help anyone to avoid what she experienced
Marion would like to see more activities happening at Community Friends and people being signposted and supported properly – more compassion is needed for the people who are attending.
Marion is now proud of herself, as she has overcome so many challenges in her life and feels that she is now doing ok, and more importantly so are her children.
Marion still has many goals for herself in life and these include: to work in the homeless hostel and specifically to help people with addictions. To achieve her SVQ3 in Health and Social Care.