Walton Charity promotes affordable housing for all ages and works with local housing support charities to help people who are homeless. One of these charities, Elmbridge Rentstart, was awarded a Community Grant of £5,000 over three years to help their clients who don’t have enough money to pay the rent in advance required by private landlords. Darren is one of the people that this grant has helped so far.
‘I lived with my mum in Walton until 2014 but then we started to have rows, partly because we struggled to make ends meet, but also because she found it hard to cope with the family on her own. I decided it would be better to go and live with my dad. It was OK at first. I was at college, and after completing a course in music production, I got a job in a shop but I wasn’t able to hold it down for long. I had started to have daily arguments with my dad – life at home was not great! I decided that the best thing would be to return to ‘my home town’, Walton, but I wasn’t able to live with my mum as she had moved to a one bedroom flat. This was when I started sofa surfing – sometimes staying with my nan and other members of the family and sometimes with friends.
I went to Elmbridge Council and they directed me to a charity called Elmbridge Rentstart. They found me a room in a house and also helped me to sign on for Job Seekers Allowance so that I didn’t have to rely on handouts from family and friends. Their deposit guarantee scheme meant that I did not have to pay that upfront, and instead was able to save for a deposit of my own. They also helped me to find a job in a hotel and I am still working there. With Rentstart’s help, I am learning to manage my finances too.
I’m feeling positive about my future now’.