Having a safe home to go back to at the end of the day is something many of us take for granted. But for children across the country the reality is very different – and it’s something which has a very real effect on their human rights.
The legal time limit for children and their families to be placed in temporary Bed and Breakfast accommodation is six weeks. However, for some families, this doesn’t happen. Anmol, a member of the Change It! campaign supported by the Children’s Rights Alliance for England (CRAE), tells her story.
‘I moved house 15 times into different temporary accommodations’
Picture: Stock Image / Pexels
I have learnt how hard growing up without a real home can be. Between the age of 7 and 15 I moved house 15 times into different temporary accommodations. My Mum, a single parent, and I stayed in a B&B for about two months, it was dreadful.
We moved all our belongings into a tiny room. It was freezing cold, cramped and scary and everything was dirty. We moved there in winter, I remember it was snowing outside. The heating was expensive and barely worked. Someone came to check our room weekly and my mum used to explain that we were very cold. They used to write it down. But nothing ever happened.
We couldn’t really cook proper meals because to use things like the cooker we had to pay extra for gas and electricity and we didn’t have enough money. I worried about my mum all the time because living like that was so stressful for her.
‘I lost all hope in my future’
Picture: Anmol / CRAE
One of my worst memories was ‘celebrating’ my 14th birthday there. Although my mum tried so hard to make it special it wasn’t. It wasn’t homely and I felt too ashamed to bring my friends back to cut my cake. I wasn’t given any help or advice. It affected my mental health and left me with anxiety, I felt I lost all hope in my future.
When I was 16 we finally got a stable place to live and things for me are better now. My family have a house in a lovely neighbourhood, my little sister is in reception and I am in University living in student halls! I use my maintenance grant, student loan, and earnings from my part-time job to cover my rent. My family are secure, it’s like a different life.
‘All Young People Deserve A Place to Call Home’
Picture: Stock Image / Pexels
All children and young people deserve a place to call home, a place they can feel happy to go back to after school, where they don’t feel ashamed to invite friends over and where they have space to grow up. When we lived in temporary accommodation I wasn’t able to do homework or study but now I have a proper place to live I am able to accomplish so much.
I never used to feel comfortable talking about what I have been through but being part of Change It! gave me confidence to speak out and a platform to be heard from. Let’s work together. Let’s Change it!
The Change It! Campaign is led by a group of 26 young people and campaigns to make sure all children have a safe home to grow up in.
Want to know more about young people’s rights? Take a look at these:
- You can understand more about our right to education in this beautiful infographic
- Read this feature on another inspirational young woman working on human rights
- Dive into our news section on the right to family life