GROW – Laura’s story

During the challenging landscape of adolescence, I found myself navigating the harsh realities of homelessness. Despite the hardships, I remained resilient, determined to overcome the obstacles life threw my way. As I entered university, I secured a flat, but the journey was far from over. Balancing academics and the responsibilities of a full-time job at Morrisons became my daily struggle.

Plagued by low confidence and self-esteem, a turning point emerged when I decided to apply for a Riverside Housing home. A dedicated housing officer visited, opening the door to a new chapter in my life. With the support of the learning and support team, I not only secured a stable home but also found an unexpected mentor in Vanessa. She played a crucial role in boosting my self-esteem by crafting a compelling CV and encouraging me to aim for higher goals.

Taking Vanessa’s advice to heart, I applied for the GROW trainee role and was overjoyed, albeit terrified when I was successful. This marked the beginning of my career in the housing sector. The challenges I faced in my personal life became the fuel for my professional growth. I seized the opportunity to complete my Masters and PGCE in teaching, further broadening my horizons.

However, the world was soon gripped by the unforeseen challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Amid uncertainty, I redirected my focus to my roots in housing. Successfully securing a place in the GEM (Graduate Employment Mentoring) program, I embarked on a journey of skill development. I honed various housing-related skills, fostering a deeper understanding of the intricacies within the sector.

Through perseverance and dedication, I not only built a successful career but also underwent a profound transformation. The experiences I gathered throughout my personal and professional journey have moulded me into a confident and skilled individual. Now, armed with the lessons learned, I am passionate about paying it forward.

Today, I find fulfilment in mentoring others, sharing the wisdom gained from my unique path. My mission is to inspire and guide individuals on the GROW program, helping them navigate challenges and realise their full potential. In this way, my personal story has come full circle, evolving into a narrative of resilience, growth, and the power of mentorship.