CHAOS and Positive People Transform Lives

Sonia is a remarkable lady and was one of the rough sleepers our outreach team met in Christmas 2016 having lived the majority of her life in turmoil and addiction she is now well into her recovery. In January 2018 we find ourselves again playing an active part in Sonia’s journey through our work within the partnership of The Positive People programme. This awesome project has certainly helped us produce life changing outcomes.

Sonia’s story is one of hardship, abuse, homelessness, loss and severe addiction – Strength doesn’t come from what you can do, it comes from over coming things you once thought you couldn’t…

As I walked into the salon I was greeted with a smiley, friendly woman with a sparkle to her eyes. I caught up with Sonia halfway through her full makeover and I have never met such an inspirational lady who truly blew me away with her life story. I feel extremely privileged to share her experiences with you today (warning you may shed a tear or two)…


Sonia now 64 openly discussed how she’s spent a majority of her childhood in and out of various children’s homes, sadly never knowing her own parents. Following fostering by a couple in Norwich by the time she was thirteen Sonia found herself desperately unhappy and living on the streets.

Moving around Norwich, Scotland, Wales, England and Ireland with no real stability Sonia found comfort in drinking with addiction becoming her best friend. I had nothing but pure admiration for such an incredible lady who has kept going despite the incredible obstacles in her life. As she continued to explain what followed I held back the tears and just wanted to give her a hug…

As a mother of eight children Sonia spent a majority of motherhood bringing up her children in various bed and breakfasts and temporary accommodation and on many occasions living on the streets pregnant up until housing could be found for her. Marrying at just seventeen Sonia had her first child and found herself in a violent and abuse relationship with her husband spending a lot of time in jail.

As a single mother having a further two children Sonia made it clear that “living on the streets was better than living with him.” As a strong woman determined to give her children all the comfort and stability she could despite her circumstances, she obtained a little van took the seats out and made it into a little camper van for herself and her first three children.

Life was cruel, Sonia’s addiction took over and her children were taken in to care. Life became chaotic and plunged Sonia into the depths of human deprivation living a dysfunctional existence on the streets. Sonia found herself in yet more abusive and destructive relationships and having further children the sad story began to repeating itself – Addiction, violence and loss….

January 2017 was a turning point for Sonia as she suffered from pneumonia twice in two months and medical staff were very concerned for her well-being. After becoming extremely ill and weighing just five and half stone she decided that she’d had enough. We never know what makes us change and how one day we can just say that’s it!

Ability doesn’t create change, motivation does… when the only choice you have left is to live or die most people find strength and thankfully this was the case for Sonia. With help slowly, we began to show Sonia there were other options and that she could choose how she wanted to live the rest of her life.

Emotions ran high when Sonia showed off her new clothes and complete makeover. After a full day of pampering which involved a new cut and colour, facial and massage, manicure and full makeup she looked like a new woman!

Now on a more positive path Sonia would like “To do what normal people do, not that I know what that is yet. Just to learn how to do something new, take my driving test and get a healthy hobby.”

After being in rehab Sonia’s journey still has a way to go over the next few months but hopes are high for a new beginning. With the potential of having her eleven year old twins living with her is a dream that keeps her going. Finally her true beauty is reflected in her soul.

Positive Change made possible thanks to Positive People and the Big Lottery Fund

Update – Sonia is still maintaining a positive happy life style and is now resettled in her own flat with her very own front door key!