Michelle is from St Austell and was studying at university in Falmouth. During this time she experienced a lot of family and relationship problems, some serious health issues and a chaotic living arrangement. Despite all of this, Michelle was able to finish her degree and graduated with a 2.1.

“Throughout all of the chaos I’m really proud to say I was still keeping up my studies and handing in all my work on time. I graduated with a 2:1. I was so happy!”

However, Michelle’s relationship with her partner subsequently ended and her housing situation deteriorated further, meaning she eventually ended up being pushed into homelessness.

“I didn’t know what to do next, I was really scared that Jessie [her dog] and I were going to be forced to sleep rough. I was panicking a bit. I called my dad and told him what had been happening, he came and picked me up and took me over to where he lives. I stayed with him for three weeks. During that time, I phoned the Council. They referred me to St Petrocs’ outreach team. The St Petrocs worker was brilliant and referred me to their housing section. I had an interview with Tomika from St Petrocs who was amazing and explained how everything works in the houses. Most importantly she explained that they can take dogs in most of their houses! That was so important to me, Jessie is my family. She put me on their waiting list. I was a bit nervous to be honest because I didn’t know how long I was going to be on the list, but I only had to wait three days! I was over the moon!"

“It was weird knowing that I was coming into somewhere stable. I was so grateful for the fact that I finally wasn’t going to be struggling for normal. Everything had been so abnormal for so long.”

"I moved into the St Petrocs house and made some friends. One of them had three dogs herself, they stop it being too quiet up here! Linda is really nice, she’s a really good friend.

Two weeks after moving in I met Gary from St Petrocs’ Vocational Development Programme, and we started talking about what I wanted to achieve going forward. The project has been really good for me, developing my confidence and getting me to think about longer term goals. They help with courses and careers stuff for people, but just as important in my books is that they also put on activities and trips. I felt so withdrawn after all I’d been through; I’d forgotten what it was like to do normal things. Getting out and about with other people is so good for you, and the trips themselves fill you with inspiration and ideas of what you might want to do in the future. My favourite trip so far has been to the RSPCA to see how they help the animals there. I think because of Jessie I’ve got an interest in animal welfare anyway. Thank goodness there’s places out there looking after animals the way they do."

"In the future I’d really like to be a teacher, so Gary contacted the adult education department and got me on a course for teaching and learning assistants. It’s a six-month online course and there are 30 of us on it so I’m meeting new people there too, it’s been brilliant!

On top of that The Vocational Development Programme have been able to organise volunteering at the local primary school. I’ve been doing three days a week there, mostly with year 5, and it’s open ended so I’ve got the chance to get a really good chunk of experience for my C.V. there. It’s been amazing and the staff there have been so supportive and encouraging. I’m enjoying it so much, I’m really excited. Who knows where it’ll lead?!”