My mum and Dad split up when I was 8, I lived with my mum but tried to spend as much time as I could with my dad. My mum was never there, I would come home from school and there was never any tea for me and she would be out with friends, she neglected me.
My Dad ran businesses between Wales and Thailand and had moved out to Thailand permanently so when I was 12 I decided to go over and live with him. It was all fine until I slipped on a tiled floor at the water festival when I was 15 and really badly injured my arm. The medical care in Thailand was terrible and the hospital didn’t know what to do so my Dad got me on the next plane to the UK. I got off at Heathrow on my own and got a coach to Newport, my grandparents helped me get to hospital where I had an operation to put plates in my arm.
It wasn’t possible to live with my grandparents so I got taken into care for a year and lived with a foster family, I was referred then to supported accommodation where I stayed for 2 years until I got my own flat. I still needed a lot of support to manage independently so was referred to Solas Floating Support for Young People in Caerphilly. I have had so much support from Solas, when I moved in my flat was empty, they helped me access a decorating grant, sort out my benefits and set up all my utility bill and to change my address. I am attending some of the Solas courses like to OCN in budgeting that will help me become even more independent.
I was doing a course at college but couldn’t continue because I was now 19 and had to sign on JSA but my support worker Jane worked so hard to try and help me keep my college placement and encouraged me to apply for jobs so I could support myself. I have been doing part time work now since before Christmas and am looking into doing an access course to apply for university. Solas have been great, I know that I can pick up the phone and Jane will help me, she has motivated me to get to appointments and to keep going even when I have had set backs.
Jane says ‘Dale never gave up, he set his heart on finishing his course but even when he was told he couldn’t continue he dusted himself down and went out and got himself a job, he is an inspiration and shows what young people can achieve’.