“Ormiston can change people’s lives” – Great Yarmouth mother’s thanks for charity help
'Without Ormiston, there is no question in my mind that my son would be in prison now.'
Mother-of-three Sally Ann Mills, (pictured), is in no doubt about what Ormiston Children's and Families Trust has done for her and her family.
Her downward spiral began six years ago, when her home in Great Yarmouth flooded and her boiler broke.
With no insurance, no heating and no hot water, she and her two sons had to rely on electric heaters to slow the mould that was growing up their walls, running up fuel bills which put Sally in arrears on her council tax.
Already struggling with fibromyalgia, she slid into depression, while her sons fell into trouble with the police and swapped school for anti-social behaviour and violence.
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'The kids were running riot,' says the 48-year-old. 'They were having parties at all times of the night when I wasn't there.
'They had lost respect and were treating their home like someone else's playground.'
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It wasn't until 2009, when a police officer told Sally about Ormiston, that she began to get a grip on her life.
A team from the Trust's Family Intervention Project visited to assess Sally's family's needs, and began co-ordinating the agencies at work in Sally's family's life – police, schools, social services, environmental health and drugs services – to plot a way out for the family.
'Ormiston didn't judge me the way that others had,' says Sally. 'They weren't blaming me, or coming in pointing the finger – they were telling me they could help me.' Ormiston's team helped Sally apply for a regeneration grant to fix her house, made sure she got the medical and parenting support she needed, and worked with her son's school to improve his attendance and make sure he left with GCSEs.
He is now in the third year of a bricklaying course at college and has his sights firmly set on his career, and his future.
With her own confidence restored, Sally is completing an employment skills course, and her work with Ormiston saw her invited to the Queen's Summer Garden Party at Sandringham in June.
'If it hadn't been for Ormiston I don't know what I would have done,' says Sally. 'They can change people's lives.'