Ashleigh has always had a chaotic lifestyle, being brought up in a home where substance abuse was problematic and living with a partner who was both abusive and a heavy drug user. Ashleigh found out that her partner and father of her children had been having an affair with her best friend and in a fit of rage set fire to the bed she caught them in which quickly spread and burnt the house down. This was Ashleigh’s first offence and she was sentenced to three years in prison, of which she served eighteen months.
Once Ashleigh was released from prison, she was considered intentionally homeless and would not have even qualified for single persons housing, let alone family accommodation as her children were not living with her.
Ashleigh’s children were being cared for by their grandmother during her prison stay, where social services were keen for them to remain after her release and attempted to convince the grandmother to take legal action for custody. Had Re-Unite not been involved, Ashleigh could have lost custody of her children.
Ashleigh regained custody of her children, and with the support of the Re-Unite project and the children’s grandmother began to turn her life around
I thought it was a great opportunity to allow me to be a mother to my kids again.
Re-Unite has helped Ashleigh to access services in the local area and to engage with Re-Unite workers. She is now confident in the area she lives and socialises well with other mothers and her family ties. She has been working closely with Re-Unite support to explore her experiences, their affects, and how she can move forward from them.
I’ve done an awful lot of growing up in the last few months.
Re-Unite has also helped Ashleigh gain all the benefits she is entitled to, enabling her to manage her finances well, pay off old debts and save money for her and her children’s future. Ashleigh’s children are happy and engaged with services and activities. They also now have positive contact with their father.
Without the Re-Unite scheme Ashleigh would never have found family accommodation, risked losing her children and could have continued on her course of self-destruction. Re-unite helped Ashleigh turn her whole life around and improve the situation not only for herself, but for her children too.
My life, my kids life, as a mother, as a person I have gained the confidence to lead a good life.
Re-Unite is now supporting Ashleigh to move on to permanent accommodation, so that she can begin the next stage of her life with her family. Ashleigh is a great example of someone who has truly benefitted from the Re-Unite scheme, and changed not only her own life, but that of her children’s too.
*Names have been changed