‘A’ is 18, attending full time College and was also the main carer for her mum, her father had passed away a few years previous. Over the past 7 months we have worked with her on a few different issues which have involved multi-agency working and a lot of advocacy.

‘A’ first came to Routes just after Christmas this year, her mum had passed away the day before and she didn’t know how she was going to afford the funeral. We spoke to the funeral directors and various different charities to help her raise the funds and supported ‘A’ through that difficult time.

‘A’ also had no money coming in as they had relied on her mums benefits. A couple of days after her mum had passed away we contacted the job centre to see if ‘A’ could apply for income support. It was a very difficult phone call as they weren’t particularly sympathetic to her situation and kept making her repeat what had happened, so I ended up taking over the phone call.

A couple of days after the funeral their housing provider gave them an eviction notice, stating as the house was in her mum’s name they had to leave. Her two brothers also lived in the house. We contacted Citizens Advice Bureau to see if they could offer some more specialist advice, they advised we could argue that as ‘A’ was the main carer of her mother she had a legal right to stay in the house. It took a long time but this approach eventually worked and they agreed to put the lease in ‘A’’s name.

Throughout this, ‘A’ maintained her place at college often getting distinctions in her work. A few times she talked of giving up but three months ago ‘A’ made the decision to attend University to undertake a degree in Business Management, she came to us to ask if we could help her with the application form and personal statement, which we did, and she was accepted to all 5 places she had applied to. Due to her housing situation she has decided to accept a place at Bournemouth University and commute from Dorchester. ‘A’ is worried about finance and how she is going to support herself, as she is staying at home she has been told she isn’t entitled to the full student finance package.

Her biggest expense is going to be transport and course materials so we have supported ‘A’ by writing to many different Educational Grants and Trusts to see if they can support in any way. This was successful as the Bridge Educational Trust is giving ‘A’ £500 towards transport costs. To receive this Grant Routes have had to act as a ‘broker’, the Trust are going to give us the money and we will distribute it to ‘A’ as and when needed. Without us acting in this role she would not have the funds to support her to get to and from University in September.

Finally due to ‘A’s experience at Routes she has offered to volunteer for us with our Young Mums group as a way to say thank you for the support we have given her.