ulie’s journey with HARP began almost two years ago when she was referred by Southend Council. Having spent the previous ten years in an abusive relationship, she began to drink and eventually recognised that she couldn’t effectively take care of her then-nine year old daughter.
Of her own accord, she made the heart-breaking decision to move her daughter into foster care. Consequently, Julie’s mental health took a rapid downturn, resulting in her falling behind in paying her rent, which lead to her being evicted from her home in Canvey.
From an independent woman, who had previously spent many years working in adult social care, her life then took a dramatic turn.
Coming to Southend, Julie met a group of long-term rough sleepers and street drinkers who, she says, took her under their wing, offering her protection and friendship. Of them, Julie says: ‘Looking back, it was a really dangerous situation to put myself in, but I suppose hindsight is a wonderful thing! I was lucky, and I realise that not all women who find themselves in that situation will be as lucky as I was’.
Getting into a treatment programme was, Julie says, the turning point, and she is quick to praise her HARP keyworker, Catherine Storey, for her support.
‘Catherine never doubted I could get better. She’s always there for a chat, or to encourage me if I’m feeling things are getting on top of me. She’s been absolutely fantastic’.
Julie says the ability to be completely honest is instrumental in her recovery. ‘When I started treatment, I was advised to be totally honest with myself and everyone around me, because I’d be cheating myself most of all if I wasn’t. I think one of the most important parts of getting better is being able to learn from past mistakes’.
Now looking firmly towards the future, Julie’s goal is to live independently and be reunited with her daughter, who’s now twelve and of whom Julie says: ‘It’s really important that she has a stable and secure home when she comes back to live with me. I’m determined to get it right, and not rush things in that respect’.
‘I don’t blame anyone for what I’ve been through, and blaming myself and having regrets is a waste of time, too. The best thing I can do for me, my daughter and everyone else is to take one day at a time and stay positive, and I know I’m on the right track’.
Catherine Storey, HARP Project Worker says: ‘Julie has done so well, and is taking all the opportunities available to her at the moment. She's a very determined lady"!