Family Stories: "Just what we needed"
“Just the break we needed”

A year ago everything seemed okay for John Wells. He had a decent job in retail and two great children in Philippa and Daniel. But when the company he worked for went bust, everything changed. Here John tells his story:

“After I was made redundant, I really struggled to find another job. I’m a single dad, so we had no other income to rely on – I couldn’t pay the rent, and eventually we were evicted. It’s a terrible situation to find yourself homeless, especially when you have two children to take care of.

“At that point you realise it’s ok to ask for help. My sister has been kind enough to let us all stay with her in Leeds, but on top of her family, it’s snug to say the least. There’s no space to bond with my kids, and every day I didn’t find a new job I got more anxious. The stress and pressure is taking its toll on everyone. While we try to keep a brave face on, it’s a horrible position to be in that is affecting me, my kids and my sister’s family.

“One of the teachers at the school could tell something was wrong with Philly. The school contacted me and suggested they put us forward to the Family Holiday Association. They said a break would make the world of difference. And they couldn’t have been more right. We were awarded 4 nights in Primrose Valley in Yorkshire – and it was exactly what we needed.

“Just being out of the city, out of my sister’s house, away from everyone else had a huge impact. I saw the kids smile real smiles for the first time in ages. We played outside, we walked until the sun went down, and we really talked. Philly told me how sad she’s been to leave our house, and I promised them both that one day, we’d have a better house – and I meant it. I feel so much more positive about our future.

“Yes, we’ll need to stay with my sister for a bit longer, but we’re on the list to be re-housed. This break gave us the time and stress-free environment to really bond again. I know that if either of them need to talk, they’ll come straight to me now, and that’s exactly how it should be.

“I couldn’t be more grateful.”

This is a true story published with the family’s consent. Names and some other details have been changed to protect confidentiality.

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