It’s almost impossible to believe but just 18 months ago Shannon was in a mental health hospital. Life had become too much for her after being estranged from her family and homeless, and she had suffered a breakdown.

Now the friendly and mature 20 year old is studying Beauty during the day and doing a Maths GSCE at night school. She’s looking forward to starting a full time Level 2 Diploma course in Beauty Therapy at SERC in September, something she hopes may lead to a job with a cruise company, helping her fulfil her other ambition – to travel.

Fundamental to her journey to this positive place is English Street – Clanmil Housing Association supported housing scheme in Downpatrick, run in partnership with MACS. English Street provides self-contained accommodation and support for young vulnerable adults, many of whom are homeless or leaving care, helping them to become independent.

I moved into English Street two weeks after I got out of hospital. I’d been involved with MACS before my breakdown but I was still nervous about moving somewhere new. It helped that I still had Laura from MACS as my Support Worker and it felt really good that people cared and wanted to help me.

My flat at English Street gave me my own space where, with round the clock support from MACS, I learned about budgeting, looking after myself, cooking and important life skills like making appointments and getting myself there on time. I was in such a low place and it really helped to get together with the other young people living there to do projects. We even put on a fashion show – something I’d never thought I’d have the confidence for.

Shannon spent 8 months at English Street before MACS helped her find and move into a home of her own, which she now shares with her cat and two rabbits. Life is busy and full and she’s very grateful for the time she spent at English Street. She says,

Living at English Street was amazing but hard. It challenged me to dig up a lot of things I hadn’t wanted to think about before. But looking back it was so positive and actually I wouldn’t change things now.

This article first appeared on Clanmil Housing website.