“If you have the strength, you can make big changes in your life. With enough support and enough desire, you can achieve what you want.”
Sia moved to Burton White House in January this year. She arrived after a tumultuous twelve months in which she left her home in Ukraine, lived with a sponsor family, and experienced two stays in hospital.
“I came to the UK last year, at the end of July. I stayed with a sponsor family but there were issues that meant I had to leave. I was angry and frustrated because of the war and all that kind of stuff, and my behaviour meant I couldn’t stay in the house. That’s the main reason I live here now. I feel okay with that.
After going to hospital, then staying in a hotel, then returning to hospital, I was connected to Evolve. My first impressions were that this was a very supportive place. At first, I had a room on the second floor, then I moved to another room on the third floor with more desk space to help me to study. Staff were helpful with my questions about organising events and other parts of my life.”
Sia has been very busy since arriving and has plans for how she might utilise more of Evolve’s support to help her to develop a business idea.
“My plan is to open my own coffee house. I have an idea of how it will work, and I want to get the funds raised through a grant or something. I want to be a businessperson – to work for myself, rather than for a company. I have digital marketing experience which will help me promote it, too. I think West Brompton would be a good place for it.
I will need to do deeper research about the topic, before starting with a business plan. I will probably need to do a business course, maybe Evolve can help with that.”
Before that, however, she is focusing on other things. First and foremost, bringing her mother over to the UK from Ukraine.
“Plans for coffee house will have to wait until new year. Until then I am organising for my mother to come over. I will have to help her with things when she arrives, including the English. I have found her a sponsor family – she is going to live in Dorset. I think she will like it there.
My keyworker here is going to help me get to the airport and onto a plane to Poland, where I will meet her and fly back with her. I have not seen her in two years.”
Even while having all of this going on, Sia has found time to organise art events at the service. She is very artistic and aims to help others get the same experience that she does.
“I started doing music aged 9, and have always liked the theatre. My first class was a dancing class my grandmother took me to, when I was five or something. I always liked art as a way of self-expression and managing emotions. It helps me and I recommend it to others in case it helps them – when you express yourself you gain confidence. You don’t need special skills, it’s about expression. Just relax and do it. Painting, singing, whatever. With art you don’t have to be perfect. It has helped me find my way.”
Despite everything that she has going on, and everything she has to manage, Sia has a clear vision for the future.
“I want to try the coffee house, and I would like to live somewhere around here. I like it here. Things have been a lot, but I am recovering and am looking ahead.”