Marie is a survivor of trafficking, still in her early 20s. She grew up in another country and was sexually exploited from childhood. She was never really free. When she arrived at Ella’s last year, Marie’s mental health was in a bad way and she lacked the basic life skills to live safely.
Through the care and community she’s found at Ella’s, and the mental health support they’ve helped her access, Marie is now turning her life around. She has a part-time job and is studying design at university. Her room is now the perfect place for her to draw and study. ‘The face is about hope,’ she says. ‘It represents people from all different backgrounds, which is why the face is in two halves. The flowers are to show new beginnings.’
‘This is the best place I’ve lived,’ says Marie. ‘I wish I could live here for 10 years!’ The goal is to see all the women Ella's work with become able to live independently as well as safely, so we know that Marie won’t need to live with them for 10 years. And so does she. But she also knows that they will always be here for her if she needs them.
My life before the Greenhouse, I did 6 months rehab before this I was in a dark place and weighed about 8 stone. You could see my bones and I needed help.
I moved about to dry houses and I needed a change and heard about The Greenhouse. It’s amazing living here. I’ve got God in my life now and it’s really changed me. People at the Greenhouse are very kind and supportive. We eat together and pray together. We have morning prayer and it lifts me up for the day. I’m working at the art shop 3 days a week which I enjoy, meeting new people.
I had no experience of God before and I now I have God in my life it’s helping me massively. I am going to get baptised soon which I want everyone to witness it. All my family are so happy for me and supportive.
I had a marriage breakdown and I became homeless and had slept rough. When I was first found on the streets I was outside St Cuthbert’s Church in Wells, where I’d been married years before and actually I’ve found great comfort in the Church. It was people of the church that took me to the Connect Centre.
Moving here has lifted my spirits and I'm so grateful for everything. The support that I've had has been absolutely amazing. I'm overwhelmed with all the support and activities and the fact that I've been given this lovely home and lots of opportunities.
My life has changed and I have gone from being a full time carer. I’m hoping I can give something back, I would like to do very similar work myself and I’m already starting to do that with cooking and volunteering and it’s all very very positive.
I’m hoping I can give something back, I would like to do very similar work myself and I’m already starting to do that with cooking and volunteering and it’s all very very positive.
Thank you for helping me out. I was on drugs and gambling and that's all stopped now. At the house I was helped out a lot and made me realise what I was doing to myself.
I wanted to sort my life out, we had a few trips out and kept ourselves busy. I lacked in confidence when I first came and kept my head down and I've grown in confidence now.
Looking ahead I think the futures a lot brighter now. I want to get back to work, get a girlfriend and sort my life out. I want to have a happy life now and stop making the mistakes of the past.
It was a literal lifeline coming to this house. I had come to the area on a college course and temporary accommodation and fell behind on my fees and nowhere to stay, needing a lifeline. I met Carl through the church network and I moved into the house.
I got on well straight away with the other guys straight away which was a real blessing and we ended up going out to the park and cooking together. Within the house it's like a 3 strand cord that is hard to break. It's been a great position to be in to push off from, like walking on tarmac rather than sand.I've made total use of my room and to have not just a pit stop but a blast off!
I've gone back to what skills I've got already and managed to get money from the job centre and starting up my own business. Having Lifeline has been such a great support. I'm really excited about when I leave here finding my own place and not just a place to scrap for rent, the business will be running as well, so it will be exciting when I move on from Lifeline.