The way in which Vicky Channing has turned her life around is nothing short of miraculous.
A university graduate, who is a now a support worker with BCHA, Vicky’s early life was happy and stable, but spiralled into chaos and drug abuse following a harrowing attack.
“I had a lovely childhood and my family are amazing. But during a French exchange trip when I was at secondary school I was attacked by three men.”
After this Vicky went off the rails and began partying hard, taking Ecstasy and MDMA.
“I felt like I was having the time of my life and loved it.
I ended up in a relationship with a guy a couple of years older than me who became very abusive. He was extremely paranoid, violent and controlling and didn’t allow me to see my family.
I became pregnant with twins and suffered a lot of violence from him at this time.
“I ended up going from one abusive relationship to another and eventually had to ask my parents to care for my children for me as I did not want to drag them through my addiction.”
After having my twins I tried to get away from him but he stalked me. I became extremely low and depressed and at that time someone who I thought was my friend gave me heroin.
From the first time that I took heroin I loved it. I can’t really put it into words how it made me feel, but at the time it gave me a sense of peace. I didn’t have to feel anything anymore and before I knew it I was addicted and was in a very desperate place.
My parents were supportive of me but my addiction was a nightmare for them and the rest of my family. I ended up going from one abusive relationship to another and eventually had to ask my parents to care for my children for me as I did not want to drag them through my addiction.
Through my heroin and crack use I have done things I would never have thought I would do.
My mental health deteriorated and I was homeless at times.
When I was homeless in Bristol some really amazing people helped me and I have never forgotten that.
By the end of my using I was literally sick and tired of feeling the way I felt. I couldn’t go on and I didn’t know how to stop.
I eventually got stable on a script with help from a drug service and then came to Plymouth when my partner got sent here from prison.
This was a new beginning for us. I was helped by Lee Rees who let me stay in his caravan until he put me in one of his Reestart houses. He also introduced me to some people who supported me whilst I was coming off my script.
Since then I have had a little boy and rebuilt my relationships with my family.
I have made some amazing friends in Plymouth and have built a life I never thought I could or would have.
I was somebody that people had written off and given up on, but others helped me to start again.”
Vicky went on to study criminology at university and knew that she wanted a career which involved helping people.
I love working for BCHA. I want to give something back as I am an example of what you can overcome when you are given the right help and support and you really want to make a change in your life.”
- £5 can provide a bus fare for a day to access activities and appointments
- £60 can provide a new outfit for a person coming to us from the street with no clothing other than what they come in wearing.
- £1,000 keeps a Rough Sleeper in emergency accommodation for a month
- £5,000 would buy 60 starter packs for customers moving into a new home, which would include, kitchen starter set, dinner set, Bathroom towel set, duvet, pillows, full bedding set
- £10,000 would currently cover the interest cost on a private finance loan of around £333,000 that could fund the building of around three new homes