Our Stories

Here are a few examples of how ROCSOLID is impacting lives.

Sammy

Sammy has a growing passion for horticulture and health and social care.

Sammy lives in a ROCSOLID house in Newton Aycliffe and has been with the project for three years.

Every day she tends the fruit and vegetables in the poly tunnel at Hope House and has remodelled the garden in her home in the local community. "I really enjoy doing it," she said.

I'm also at college doing Health and Social Care NVQ Level 2 and I'm also doing my English and Maths. I've been through a lot in my life and now things are different and settled, I want to do something to help other people – either older people or children with disabilities.

Laura

She has slept in shop doorways, unsavoury hostels, grotty B and Bs and once on a bench in a police station and if you ask her where she'd be now without ROCSOLID she doesn't hesitate to say: "Probably dead."

Laura, aged 20, first came to us four years ago. She was not in mainstream education, she self harmed, she had broken family relationships, she had several suicide attempts and she drank heavily.

She was actually evicted from the project because of alcohol-related behaviours three times. "Mandy (operations manager) never gave up on me and when I was on my own and in a fix I'd ring her and she'd always give me good advice," said Laura.

I came back a year ago and this is my most successful stay yet. I used to drink before even getting out of bed so I could face the day but I don't do that now. I can see how far I've come and I can see a future for myself.

She now has some BTec qualifications in sports and public service and plans to become a qualified sports instructor. When ROCSOLID young people go on outward bound confidence building weekends, Laura goes as an assistant to the qualified leader and loves it.

I never see me own family – I can honestly say that ROCSOLID is my family now. I trust the staff. I share a ROCSOLID house and they text me every day, see me at least twice a week and have helped me with budgeting, shopping, getting college courses. Coming here has changed my life.

Mark

Crime, prison, alcohol, drugs and fights – Mark can hardly believe how much his life has changed.

Now he doesn't go out with his old mates but prefers to spend time at home with his partner, Nicola, and their son, Jacob.

Nicola, who had spent time in foster care, moved into Hope House two days before Jacob was born – her social worker organised the placement. Because of Mark's past behaviours, any time he had with his son had to be supervised.

"Having Jacob changed everything for me," said Mark. In fact, the changes in his behaviours were so significant, social services eventually gave the go ahead for him to live with Nicola and Jacob in a ROCSOLID house with ongoing support from their key worker.

So what had sent Mark on the path towards prison?

Well, I'd lived with my my nana and granddad and he died when I was nine and my nana died when I was 13. From being ten, I became a real menace. I was a horrible person, always in trouble.

Both have attended a wide range of courses organised by ROCSOLID, including healthy eating and food hygiene. "We get support whenever we need it," said Nicola. "I know I wouldn't have Jacob with me today if it wasn't for the project."

Mark agrees. "All we want now is to be a happy family," he said.

I feel like a different person now and Jacob...I love him. He's awesome.

Since this article appeared in our 2013/2014 annual report, the family have successfully moved on to independence. Christian names have been changed.