Fola, aged 32, found herself homeless on New Years Eve 2018. After several years of struggling with substance use, her relationship with her mother broke down and she was forced to leave the family home.  

After gaining a bed space at our Redbridge Ryedale Night Shelter, Fola was determined not to go back to taking substances. She was later transferred to the charity’s Green Lane Hostel, where she has been supported to access education and training opportunities.  

Fola is now training to become a volunteer with SHP’s Peer Mentoring programme, so that she can draw on her own experience to help others.  She has completed short courses in psychology and feminisand is taking part in a pilot scheme called Gloves, which seeks to tackle addiction through boxing. 

Fola says: “Moving into Ryedale brought stability to my life. If I hadn’t gone into the shelter I don’t know what would have happened, I had exhausted all options. Now I intend to keep on the straight and narrow and use the support I have had from SHP as a springboard. 

 “The good thing about SHP is that not only do they help you with accommodation, they help keep you engaged meaningfully, they find out what it is that you want do and assist you in doing that. When I’m preoccupied with doing things I want to do, I don’t even think about addiction. 

“Peer Mentoring feels amazing, it’s literally the best feeling in the world - it’s just wonderful to know that you’re helping people, in however small a capacity.”