The Old Vicarage provides accommodation for young or expectant mothers aged 16-25 who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
There are 7 self-contained flats with bathroom, kitchen, bedroom and living room.
Each resident will be allocated a key worker to offer emotional support, help with practicalities such as applying for benefits, and encourage service users to continue their education and prepare for work.
The support service is fully inclusive of fathers, in accordance with the wishes of each service user.
Residents generally stay for 12 to 18 months.
Download: The Old Vicarage Application Form
I found out I was pregnant when I was 14, living with my mum, brother and step-dad. I knew I had to move out because it wasn’t a safe environment for my daughter. I moved into the Old Vicarage shortly after my 16th birthday – I was all by myself with a 5-month-old baby and it was terrifying. But the staff gave me a lot of praise and encouragement about how good a mother I was, which gave me confidence, and I started to believe in my own abilities. It’s not easy being a mother at the best of times, let alone when you’re so young. Everyone makes mistakes but it really helped being in an environment where there are people who can help and who you can learn from. There is nothing better than having support from someone who can empathise with your experiences.
My time at the Old Vicarage made me realise I wanted a career in support work. It has become a passion of mine to help people who are in the same situation that I once was. The staff encouraged me to go to college to study Social Care, and I did 5 years of voluntary work in various support sectors, such as drug & alcohol abuse, homelessness, teenage parents, ex-offenders and probation, all of which I found extremely rewarding.
When my daughter went to nursery full time, I applied for a permanent position with the Old Vicarage as a BME Floating Support Worker. Although I didn’t get the original job I applied for, I was thrilled to be offered an alternative position shortly afterwards. I have worked for Tuntum for almost two years now and I have learnt so much, although it still feels strange to be working in the office instead of being up in flat 6!
One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is when ex-residents approach me and say I was an inspiration to them, and they have since gone to college to study social care like I did, so they too can help people. I never tire of hearing that and it’s the main reason I went into this field of work. If I make a change to just one person’s life and help them to realise their own potential, then my job is worth doing. I owe so much to the Old Vicarage. I started my journey as a young, independent mother at the project and have since found my career here. It has become a major part of my life and made me the person I am today.