'I was left homeless with my nine-month baby': Halifax mum praises women's group

A former homeless mum has turned her life around after receiving help from a Halifax women's group.

Ashleigh Reeves, 34, of Halifax, said in December 2017 she was "living out of bags" and "homeless" with her nine-month-old baby until receiving help from The Women Centre, on Silver Street.

Ashleigh Reeves was left homeless with her nine-month baby in December 2017

Ashleigh Reeves was left homeless with her nine-month baby in December 2017

The Women Centre, which provide services for women including emotional and practical support for domestic violence, supported Ms Reeves offering counselling and basic essentials for herself and her son.

Ms Reeves, who works as an adult nurse for Calderdale and Huddersfield Foundation Trust, said: "The centre is an organisation very close to my heart.

"Two years ago, I was made homeless with my nine-month-old baby.

"I was living out of bags, staying with friends and family and relying heavily on goodwill.

Ashleigh Reeves

Ashleigh Reeves

"The centre supported me on a weekly basis for their Freedom Programme.

"This is a 12-week course in which you learn about traits in a romantic partner which can be considered ‘red flags’, your responses to these red flags, and helps you understand what you experienced in the relationship and somewhat process this.

"I've kept in contact with one lady from the programme, and met another nurse at work who had also attended the programme.

"The three of us are now firm friends, support each other, encourage and cook for each other and we've had the honour of watching each other become stronger, more independent, grow as individuals and as mothers to our young children.

Ashleigh Reeves with her child, whose face has been hidden for privacy reasons

Ashleigh Reeves with her child, whose face has been hidden for privacy reasons

"It's because of the kindness of The Women Centre that two years later I've chosen to have my voice heard.

"I'm now in a position to pay back some of the support that I received and pay that forward in the community.

"I was very lucky that I had friends and family to support me emotionally, and offer me a temporary place to stay."

After "tireless" help from Ramdens Solicitors LLP, Ms Reeves eventually managed to get back in her home in March 2018.

Domestic Abuse poster

Domestic Abuse poster

"Some women don't have this privilege, and either leave their family home or are forced out, with nothing," she said.

"This is why I've chosen to support Pennine Domestic Violence Group (Huddersfield) as another extremely worthy cause and collect on their behalf.

"Rates of domestic abuse increase significantly after the festive season, and therefore these centres will have their already limited capacity, stretched even more."

Ms Reeves is looking forward to the future with her son who will be three years old in March.

"I want to let people know who may be struggling in unhealthy relationships that they are not alone," she said.

"That domestic abuse can happen to anyone and often it is insidious and undetected for a long time.

"They are not crazy. There are people that will believe them, that they need to talk and get help.

"It will be OK. That we, as a community of survivors will listen."

Starting at 10am on Monday, Halifax Women Centre and Pennine Domestic Violence Group are holding a donation drop-off at Halifax Fire Station, on Spring Edge West, in aid of Domestic Violence Awareness.

The open-invitation event will provide coffee and cakes and anyone who has been affected by domestic abuse is urged to come along and share experiences.

For more information, visit: www.womencentre.org.uk