A BOGNOR REGIS employee and her daughter have given thanks for their new start in life.
Karen Kelly is a domestic abuse survivor and said the assistance given by her work colleagues at Stepping Stones Nursery in the town and Arun District Council had made all the difference to them.
She and her now 13-year-old daughter, Rebecca, were able to move out of the refuge which had been their temporary home for a year after Arun offered to pay their deposit for a studio flat.
“We had a breakthrough with the district council who agreed to lend the deposit of nearly £800 upfront and a repayment scheme,” she said.
“This enabled my daughter and I to accept a large studio in Fishbourne.
“My daughter’s wish for her birthday (in September) was to be in our own place. We moved in a week after, but Rebecca was still delighted.
“That has made our lives a lot better by giving us the next step up.
“Being an abuse survivor, I just didn’t have that much cash upfront. It was really impossible to save.
“It was the best thing I could wish for, for that money to come through.
“The housing situation is so dire. There are 1,500 people on the waiting list bidding for council properties each month.”
Their brighter prospects were improved further when her colleagues at Stepping Stones Nursery in South Way presented Karen with a host of items to furnish the new home.
These were a microwave, a clothes airer, double duvet, toaster, pots and pans and two large hamper baskets filled with food and toiletries and goodies.
“I had the surprise of my life and was blown away by their kindness and generosity,” said Karen, 46.
“Speechless, I just cried with gratitude and so did Rebecca.”
Their room leader at the refuge also handed them a mass of items such as a fridge, two-seater sofa and TV. Further donations were also made of other items.
Mother-of-four Karen is also completing her England and maths exams as a nursery assistant as well as working her way through her childcare NVQ course.
She and Rebecca came to Bognor Regis in August last year after she fled her marital home in Bedfordshire and her husband of 20 years after feeling she was living in a war zone of locked bedrooms and threats.
They fled to her parents’ home in Pagham but life in the small bungalow was unsuitable to cope with the new visitors. This led Karen to seek housing help from Arun.
They were homeless. All their belongings were packed into Karen’s Fiat 500 car. This led to their placement in a refuge in Portsmouth.
Karen was told about a vacancy at Stepping Stones and was taken on as a temporary worker.