Jake shares a story of hope as a Roundabout peer educator

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As a Peer Educator with South Yorkshire youth homelessness charity Roundabout, Jake Sky is sharing a story which they hope will inspire other young people facing the complexities of a fractured family life.

Roundabout’s ground breaking peer education project is delivered by trained volunteer peer educators who have experienced homelessness.

​They deliver sessions in schools and aim to break down stereotypes, explore the reasons young people become homeless using real life stories and inform young people of local organisations that can help.

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​Additionally, Peer Education provides a vital platform for Roundabout’s mediation service, by informing students what mediation is, how it can help and where they can access the charity’s mediation drop-in service in school.

Jake is sharing his story as a Roundabout Peer EducatorJake is sharing his story as a Roundabout Peer Educator
Jake is sharing his story as a Roundabout Peer Educator

​Jake was just 12-years-old when a cycle of domestic abuse led to the family breaking up.

​“Growing up, my mum suffered domestic abuse in her relationship and mental health problems,” Jake recalls.

​“When I was 12, there was a violent argument at home which led Mum to leave our step dad.

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​“We packed some bags and fled to a friend’s house, and were put into emergency accommodation by social services.

​“We moved temporarily into a women’s refuge together, sharing a room, and after a while we moved into our own council house.

​“I remember me and my sisters missed a lot of school during this time and home life was difficult.”

​A few months later, Jakes’s Mum attempted suicide, was hospitalised and Jake and their sisters were taken into care by social services.

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​“Mum was okay physically but we were not able to live with her again,” Jake explains.

​“We moved into a young people’s home where around 12 young people lived with key workers who supported them.

​“We stayed here for around six months, until I went to live with my first carers and my sisters stayed in the care home.”

​Over the next few years Jake would be moved between five different carers, experiencing trouble at school, feeling difficult emotions and finding it hard processing the things that had happened in the past.

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​“At 15 I came out as an LGBTQ+ person but the carers I lived with were homophobic,” Jake says.

​“There were other teenagers living with us and they bullied me so eventually, when I was around 17, things became too difficult to live there and I moved again.

​“I stayed living with other carers until I was 21, when I applied for my own council flat and moved out on my own.”

​Since then, Jake has been living independently, supported by Roundabout and SAYiT, the charity that works with young LGBTQ+ people aged from 8 to 25, including those who are most vulnerable or marginalised.

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​“I was referred to Roundabouts Supporting Tenants scheme and have a keyworker who has supported me while I have been learning to live on my own,” Jake says.

​He also suggested I get involved with Roundabout’s Peer Education project.

​“I am now working part time for The Care Council in Sheffield and have been volunteering as a Roundabout Peer Education for the last year.

​“I like to share my story because I think it is helpful and important to teach people how and why people might find it hard to live independently and keep secure accommodation.”

​To find out more about the full range of Roundabout services visit roundabouthomeless.org

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