After Ruth suffered the loss of a partner and two members of her family committed suicide, her mental health deteriorated, spiralling into substance misuse and a chaotic lifestyle.
This cycle continued for years until Ruth was sentenced and had time in prison to reflect on her life and how to break this cycle of behaviour.
“I managed to get a bit of breathing time, reflection time, I managed to get off all street drugs… doing work in the community working for restaurants, so I used my time really really well.”
Whilst in rehabilitation, Ruth took full advantage of the support and services available to her and once she was released, she spent nine months in Vincent House, a local hostel in Blackpool managed by local charity Caritas Care. Whilst Ruth was here, she was supported by Liz Snape (Pictured with Ruth) through the ACE project also run Caritas Care. Liz helped Ruth to find a local property in Blackpool and then applied to the Vicar’s Relief Fund for a grant to fund a deposit. The Vicars Relief Fund is a rapid response service that offers grants to people like Ruth across the UK.
“If I didn’t have support coming out of prison from Caritas Care and the Vicar’s Relief Fund, I wouldn’t be able to get where I’m going and be who I want to be…Now I can start to give back to the community and get a job and start living my life, instead of wasting it.”
Now Ruth is settling into her own home she is also looking ahead – planning her return to work and giving something back to Vincent House by volunteering.
“This is my time to make me, me. And do something with my life instead of being an idiot… I want to say ‘It’s me. Ruth is not an idiot any longer. I am a person, I am a human.’”
You can hear Ruth’s story in BBC Radio 4’s Making a Difference this Sunday 4 December at 9.45am and repeated at 5.40pm, then repeated on Friday 9 December at 3.45pm or catch her on BBC iPlayer