How a secure home is helping Fiona to help others

  • Name: Fiona
  • Housing association: L&Q
  • Housing type: Social rent

Fiona and her two children live in a social rented home in Peckham, south London. For Fiona, renting her home at a rate below market level has allowed her to balance the demands of being a mother to two young children with her full-time work in the charitable sector.

It was while Fiona was on maternity leave after the birth of her second child in 2011 that the London riots happened. This was a turning point for her – seeing the worst effects of family breakdown and a lack of support networks for young people motivated Fiona to change career.

She attended introductory courses on youth work and business, provided by her housing association, L&Q and the School for Social Entrepreneurs, and soon set up a support group for young mothers at her local children’s centre. This was the beginning of the charity that Fiona founded and runs today, Young Mums Support Network.

Over the past seven years, Fiona’s charity work has gone from strength to strength. She’s developed various community programmes – ranging from health and wellbeing classes and courses on home management, to Ready Steady Work, a partnership with a number of corporate partners which helps women into work.

“I’m always up for being entrepreneurial and trying something new, but I’ve only been able to achieve what I have through having a secure home and the support of my family, friends and housing association”

The charity now helps young mothers across south London and further afield. Fiona has developed programmes for other organisations, including G15 members Notting Hill Genesis, Metropolitan Thames Valley and Optivo. Along the way, she’s become a public champion for her causes, advised the Prime Minister’s policy team in Downing Street and attended events in the House of Lords. Recently she was asked to run a project with young women coming out of the justice system.

Fiona’s strength and independence have got her to where she is today, but she recognises she couldn’t have done it without a secure place to call home and the support of her family, friends and housing association. That’s why Fiona is so determined to help others.

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Our members help people at different stages in their lives with different housing needs. You can read more of our residents’ stories below.