In this blog, I am going to be talking about what it is like to be responsible for paying your own rent for the very first time. As a former care leaver myself, when getting your own place, it marks the very first moment of having your own life, once again and being independent, but being independent comes with massive responsibilities, which I learned the hard way during the first few months of having the keys to my own place.
When I first got the keys to my own place, I had everything done for me, my rent was paid, I had electricity, water and gas, I didn’t need to worry about anything, but the reality started kicking in very fast because when I knew I had a lot of money in my bank account, I also knew I had lots of bills to pay each month so that I can stay warm and stay clean and was able to eat and see during the night. It was hard to learn what needed to be done and how to be independent, but as a care leaver the one bill I didn’t need to worry about, was paying council tax due to the tax being on hold until I’m 25 due to my local authority.
This helped massively, but the fear of messing up was still there because I went from having everything done for me in care, to actually holding my own tenancy and keys, it went really fast and deep down I was scared because I was not ready for the responsibility to be on my own yet, especially as I only just finished higher education and just moved back into my hometown.
Personally, I feel that the fear of being independent is scary for a lot of care experienced people, especially those who are not care experienced as well because it is a new chapter in your life, but the difference Is compared to our peers, we don’t have the support of family members to come and bail us out if we get stuck or are in trouble, we are literally on our own with no support from the moment we turn 25, which is terrifying because I knew that after this time I was completely independent, and most of all if I had any issues I was totally on my own.
However, I do personally believe that the more you are able to learn and get support while social services and personal advisors are around, you can stand a better chance to know what to do if any of the issues arrive again in the future when they are not around, as being independent can be stressful and very much isolating and worrying because of everything you need to remember to do and try to fix.
So, a message for care experienced people who are independent. If you ever have any issues or concerns about living on your own or need advice and support, always contact your social worker or personal advisor when you can, as they can help you to the best of your ability, however, if not, always contact your out of hours line for your local authority, as the more you are able to learn now while they are around the better you can be when you leave care completely.
By Anonymous Care Experienced Blogger