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Every parent faces difficult choices; for some, these decisions can be devastating. Joanna’s choice between staying in a violent relationship and facing homelessness brought her to Bethany’s Services. She vividly remembers the moment she found the strength to escape.

“Lilly asked me to lock the door and I realised ‘she’s scared, it’s not about me anymore.’ ‘Mummy don’t open the door. Don’t let daddy in’ – I saw it couldn’t go on.”

Joanna and Lilly escaped that night with the help of the police. “I worked as a manager but overnight I had nothing. I had to quit my job. I had to figure out how to live again, how to manage day by day.” With the help of Women’s Aid and Cyrenians, Joanna was directed to Bethany Christian Trust. She was provided with furnished accommodation and a starter pack of essentials.

I had the best support worker from Bethany, she helped me organise everything; my benefits, my bills. Just asking ‘are you ok today’. It was good I had somebody, I didn’t isolate myself.

Bethany doesn’t just give someone a home. We want to help individuals realise who they are and support them to recognise their strength and pursue their dreams.

“I had peace. Coming home to a safe place, I’m not going to be screamed at. You don’t realise how strong you are, I started loving myself and I said ‘I am unbreakable’. I can face everything.”

Today, Joanna has a job and has found permanent accommodation for herself and her daughter.

I want to become an example for Lilly and don’t want her to see me give up. I’ve met fantastic people and had amazing support from Bethany. It’s a new me, a new life and a new start for me and my daughter.

The services we provide help people like Joanna find their strength and renew their life. Please donate to our Spring appeal today and help even more people find the confidence to choose freedom.