“The Centre is a place of inspiration, community and love. I have found my place”
Themes: Social welfare advice; physical activities; arts and horticulture
Tracey is a woman with a strength and spirit most of us like to have and yet her start in life was hard. She has overcome so much adversity that talking to her is nothing short of inspirational.
In her adult life, Tracey has had to deal with life-threatening domestic violence which resulted in her and her children living in refuge. She has had to cope with significant mental and physical ill health, family substance abuse and she was hospitalised and incapacitated for many years. Tracey has experienced homelessness and was living in a hostel before being finally allocated a social housing ground floor flat to call home.
“People thought I would die but I didn’t” she states. There were times I couldn’t face carrying on but I kept going and here I am” she says with a twinkle in her eye.
Tracey first learnt about the Centre when she took part in our Level 2 Para-legacy training programme. The programme team worked with residents of the hostel Tracey was housed in. This programme supported her with exercise and healthy lifestyles and trained her to gain a qualification so she could share learning.
She started to rebuild her life by volunteering and supporting others and when she moved near to the Centre, Tracey began to get involved with services and activities on site.
She engaged with the team in our Welcome Hub where she was given time to talk and identify concerns and interests and discussed services she could get involved with to build her confidence and make new connections.
In a relatively short space of time, Tracey had engaged with a number of services. She was given social welfare advice to ensure she was receiving all the financial support she was eligible for.
She attends a number of sessions to support her health and wellbeing and to build her social network. This includes arts groups, regular healthy lifestyles sessions, a walking group, Zumba sessions, embroidery and Tracey is a regular gardening group member where she “grew some amazing tomatoes”
She has a strong community spirit and has encouraged many other victims of domestic violence to come forward for help. If she sees anyone looking lost or unsure at the Centre she enjoys helping them find their way. Tracey is at the heart of our community, making lots of new friends and reconnecting with old ones.
With grown children and ten grandchildren Tracey is determined to encourage and support them in any way she can. “When I’m happy, my family is happy” says Tracey “and the Bromley by Bow Centre has been a big part of that”