“I have this feeling of hope, I have this feeling I can start again… a big part of it came from The Connection. All these people who helped us to get on track again. Because if you don’t have this support it would be impossible If you don’t recover your wellbeing, you cannot plan your life.” 

Growing up in Brazil Jenifer dreamed of coming to Europe, and when she came to London in 2005, she fell in love with the city. She studied and then began working as a waitress in a private members club, deciding to settle and make London her home. For the next ten years Jenifer built a successful career, being promoted to Assistant Restaurant Manager and having a comfortable life in Paddington with her partner. However, a period of severe depression, resulted in a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, and things began to unravel. 

“I didn’t know anything about that illness. I was in very bad stage… it compromised everything in my life  my relationship, job, place to live, everything.” 

Jenifer spent some time in hospital to help her recovery, but even after she had returned to work, life was not the sameStill unwell and struggling to cope, she left her job and soon after could not pay the rent. She was then left both without an income and a home. 

You feel like you don’t belong here anymore, that people don’t want you here… No one wants a problem because we all have things to sort out. I was on the side, on the edge of society.” 

Paddington station provided a place to sleep at night, until a friend told her about The Connection’s night shelter. Here Jenifer found safety and support, and met Su, a Housing and Resettlement Adviser. When Coronavirus caused The Connection to closeSu helped Jenifer secure a place where she could stay safe during the pandemic.  

“The first person I spoke to at The Connection was Su… she was always in touch with me and when I was in the hotel, she used to call me to check if I was okay. I feel very safe in her hands. 

While the team at The Connection provided medical and psychological support, Su managed to find accommodation for Jenifer in a women’s hostel, offering a stable base away from the street. When she arrived, Jenifer enrolled in classes to improve her writing in English and continued receiving support for her health. She is now determined to get a new job and is once again looking to the future. 

“I have this feeling of hope, I have this feeling I can start again… a big part of it came from The Connection. All these people who helped us to get on track again. Because if you don’t have this support it would be impossible If you don’t recover your wellbeing, you cannot plan your life.” 

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