Kerry Naylor's Caridon Journey

22nd February 2019

Kerry was a victim of domestic violence aged just 23 years old.

She had fled the violence and ended up homeless, Lambeth Council placed her in supported accommodation for a while and she finally ended up in accommodation provided by St Mungo’s, a registered charity assisting homeless people. Kerry spent a total of 2 and half years in temporary accommodation from 2013 to 2016.

Kerry then moved to Croydon and had been sofa surfing since October 2016 when she started working with Crisis and a dedicated Housing Coach. Kerry was very timid and withdrawn – hardly surprising given what she had experienced but she was supported through this by Crisis and eventually introduced to Caridon in October 2017.

Working with the Croydon Discretionary Payment team we were able to apply for a deposit and advance for Kerry and once this was agreed she was able to secure her own self-contained studio flat with us. Kerry was supported by Susan with her Housing and UC needs and Crisis continued to coach her through courses which they ran for things such as starting a new tenancy, cooking classes and budgeting.

Kerry even gained enough confidence to join the Crisis choir who went on to collaborate with Ralph McTell.50 years after Ralph McTell first penned ‘Streets of London’, the legendary singer-songwriter re-recorded his timeless single with the Crisis choir made up of Crisis clients from across Britain including Kerry and guest vocalist Annie Lennox. The song - which shared its birthday with Crisis’ 50th anniversary in December 2017, was released in time for Christmas to raise money to support thousands of people facing homelessness - something Kerry knew all about. They even appeared on Channel 4 news – this particular news programme dedicated the whole hour to homelessness and finished with Ralph and the Crisis Choir singing.

As time went on Caridon launched its Foundation arm of the business providing supported housing to new and existing Caridon tenants – Kerry was selected to be part of this new venture as we thought she would benefit from the addition support. Kerry joined Foundation in November 2017 and has gone from strength to strength. She was referred to the council’s learning disability team and finally received the assessment that she should have had as a child. Getting a diagnosis helped Kerry to understand why she has struggled as much as she has and for as long as she has.

The team has worked with Kerry to find innovative ways of learning and communicating such that she is able to do many of the things she previously found difficult such as travel around independently and join some social groups. She now attends a weekly Walking Group and is learning all about healthy eating and nutrition. On that front, Kerry is also learning to cook and bakes a mean cake! She is also learning about personal boundaries, how to say no and to form healthier friendships.

Kerry is currently thinking about courses or volunteering. Kerry’s Social Worker has recently referred her to Enablement & Employment Support for additional support with volunteering and training specific to her needs. Kerry is taking part in a 6-week fitness course, where she attends the park with a team of four for a walk with her learning disability nurse.

Kerry’s journey started when she was the timid self-conscious young woman who first joined Caridon, Kerry is now first to put herself forward to join events and sat ‘front of house’ to meet and greet everyone at last year’s Christmas Party. She was also actively involved in the organising of the event and has volunteered to help organise a sponsored walk this Summer to raise money for Caridon Foundation.

Caridon Foundation has supported Kerry to maximise her income through the correct Benefits, and her income has increased significantly, giving her more freedom to do the things she enjoys. She was thrilled to be given a Freedom Pass earlier this year and spent the first weekend travelling round on buses – just because she could!

For the team at Caridon Foundation, getting to know Kerry has been an absolute pleasure. Seeing her blossom and grow in self-esteem and confidence has been inspiring and she always has a smile on her face. She has a great sense of humour and always makes us laugh. 

“Caridon has been a big help to me. With my learning disability, I am happy that now I know what I have. I’m happy to come to Caridon because I’m happy that I have a good support worker (Candice). Whatever help I get, I get it from Caridon”  - Kerry Naylor

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