"I am a 49 year old woman who until recently was strong, hardworking and independent. I had been working as a store manager at a coffee shop. I had moved into a lovely one-bed house and was happy, until work told me I was no longer needed. I was sure I would be working again in no time. How wrong I was. After applying for numerous jobs I was either over-qualified, the hours were part time or the jobs were too far away or taken.
"Then another bombshell. After six months the council reduced my housing benefit by £125 per month. How would I pay the rent? I became scared. I couldn't sleep, felt sick and would shake uncontrollably. My GP diagnosed me with severe depression and anxiety.
"When the eviction notice came through I pleaded to the court, but they favoured the landlord and a date was set for me to leave. I had nowhere to store my furniture or personal belongings, so I packed a case and at 6am on 7 October I walked out of my home leaving my world behind. I was heartbroken and had no idea what to do.
"I went to the council who arranged for me to stay for three nights at the Salvation Army and organised an appointment with Sara from Derventio Housing Trust. I didn't know what to expect, but the minute I met her I felt at ease. She had a warmth about her and treated me like a person, not a statistic. We chatted and she explained all about Derventio and what they do. I was told I could have a room in shared accommodation with three other ladies.
"The house was a home, warm and had everything you needed. The girls were lovely and we all got along. My support officer is amazing. My self-esteem and confidence are building. We have a meeting every Wednesday and she supports us fully and helps in any way she can. She is the kind of person that is not just doing a job but is totally committed to helping unfortunate people like myself.
"I am now sharing with one female and two guys and even though we come from different backgrounds we get on great, keeping the house lovely and sharing the cooking. We know that if there are any problems there is someone just a phone call away."
"Derventio is saving lives. I know for a fact they saved mine. The kindness, understanding and 100% 24/7 support is amazing. I know I still have a way to go but I will get there, thanks to Derventio."