With £200 in my pocket, and a dream, I set out to set up my own Children’s home.

My name is Rosie Mai and I am fundraising to set up my own Children’s Home. I believe that we can change the lives of young people if we give them the right care. Young people from traumatic backgrounds need the right kind of support if they are going to have the chance to succeed. This starts with therapeutic and restorative care, building relationships, providing role models and helping young people to learn through harnessing their interests.

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Several years ago I found myself in the worst moment of my life. As a teen I suffered mental health issues and displayed challenging behavior. I had a strong mother, who raised me as a single parent living off benefits and for her I am very grateful, but she had a tough job on her hands. I was truanting from school, drinking and self-harming. At age 19 I got into a relationship that was very damaging to me at the time and by aged 21 I was signed off work because my mental health was so poor. At age 22 I left an abusive partner. I had no money, nowhere to live and no one I felt I could turn to.

It was at this time by some miracle was offered a job working in a children’s home. I fell in love with the work. Here were young people who had experienced serious trauma and were struggling in their lives, and I felt I understood them. It was the first time in my life I had felt a real sense of purpose and I was able to really help these young people.

My mental health started to change, with having a purpose and a passion and I started the process of counselling, self-care and self-healing to deal with my own trauma.

This is when I had my vision to set up my own Children’s Home.

I had £200 in my pocket and a dream.

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To begin with I completed 3 business courses, all night classed to fit in with working in the children’s home. I then ran my first fundraising events. I contacted musicians all over the city, blagged and borrowed the venues, promotion materials and all the equipment I needed and in total ran 3 events and was part of another 4. This raised £3,222 and I was on my way.

I then did my first fundraising challenge, I lived on £1 a day for 30 days, over Christmas 2013, raising £1766. As par of this I did some mini challenged when I reached fundraising goals, I walked barefoot, lived without electricity, lived without running water and did a night sleeping on the streets.  I did this because I believe all young people, should have a safe and warm home and water to drink and food to eat.

 

My second challenge was 3 days deaf, 3 days blind and 3 days not speaking, using headphones and eye masks, finishing in 3 days silent, deaf and blind. I raised £1,118. I did this because I believe all young people should have a voice, be heard and be seen.

My next challenge was that I pushed a bed on wheels from John O groats to lands’ end, all wearing pajamas and I slept in the bed every night. I raised £18,500 from doing this. I did this because I believe all young people should have a safe place to sleep at night.

My forth challenge was that I built a giant piggy bank which I took to 3 events over the UK and collected donations in. I raised £4,431 from doing this.

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Whilst fundraising I have also been building my knowledge, skills and experience. I worked my way up in the children’s home sector from a Residential Childcare Worker to a Home Manager. In this time I taught myself the skills I need to run my own home.

First I studied a level 4 qualification in Education. I then funded myself through my Children’s Home management qualification, which is the qualification requited by law to manage and run children’s home.

When I learned that many care leavers end up homeless, unemployed or in prison, I wanted to learn more about how we can prevent this happening. I coordinated a pilot project for the department of education for Bristol City Council, called the Staying Close Project, which is all about creating innovative ideas to support young people after they leave care. As part of this I managed a large pot of funding,  set up links for young people to access local housing providers and developed independence skills training for young people to access while living in our Children’s Homes. Working with White Designs, we developed a self contained pod house that we placed into the garden of our of our Children’s Homes to act as an intensive independence training pod. This featured as part of the 2-19 Bristol Housing festival and currently resides in the garden of one of our Children’s homes, where it is being used by one of our young people. This work is currently contributing to the review of national policy change and has helped me gain invaluable knowledge and experience about we can better prepare our young people to become part of their communities and live successful lives.

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Then I April 2019 I had my little girl Hannah Rose, who, along with her supportive and wonderful father, inspire me every day to help those children who don’t have a safe and loving home.

Whilst on maternity leave I have completed a level 7 Masters in Leadership and management and have based my masters on my business plan to set up my children’s Home.

I am a strong believer that we need to leave this world a healthy place for future generations and since having my little girl have become even more passionate about this. I am currently selling eco living taster boxes which are full of exciting products that can replace the wasteful ones we use every day. I make some of these items at home while I look after my little girl and some items have been donated by some fantastic companies we are partnering with. Every penny of profit going towards my fundraising goal.

This is my dream, my vision and my passion and although it is a mighty mountain to climb, I can’t wait to see the view from the top.

I know how differently my life could have gone had a not found what I am passionate about, which is why I am so determined to help those young people at the start of their own journeys to find what they are passionate about and help them achieve their full potential. This is why my project is called Full Reach Children’s Projects.

 

My fundraising continues …….

 

Get in touch at rosiemai@fullreach.co.uk