Home > Testimonials > From feeling broken to smiling and happy: Leila’s story

Life is challenging for many of us right now, if you’ve ever felt despair, suffered tragedy, or generally gone through the harshness of life you’ll almost immediately relate to Leila’s story. Spending most of her childhood in care left Leila facing her late teenage years homeless and alone. By the time she was in her twenties she was trapped in addiction, but Leila was determined to turn her life around.

She found sobriety and an even bigger blessing – the birth of her daughter. “She has changed my life, she’s not just a gift but a miracle I will be forever grateful for.” A few years later Leila decided to move back to Burnley, her birthplace, to build a new life for herself and her daughter.

With a thorough understanding of the challenges that may arise with being a single parent as well as facing financial difficulties she knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Yet, she went on to create a new home for herself and daughter. Some time after settling into their new house a fire broke out in the middle of the night. Although Leila and her daughter managed to escape unharmed, most of their belongings were either badly damaged or destroyed including presents Leila had bought her daughter for Christmas. Having very little support and no one to turn to eventually had a devastating effect on Leila’s mental health.

“COTS made sure my daughter still had a Christmas by dropping off food and presents to our home.” 

Fearful of the impact on her daughter, Leila decided to reach out for help. Walking through the doors of COTS Leila was broken, desperate, and looking for support. After several conversations we were able to understand the real struggles that Leila was facing. “COTS made sure my daughter still had a Christmas by dropping off food and presents to our home.” We knew our first steps of support would be to provide Leila and her daughter with essentials from food to furniture, as well as creating a heart-felt bond based on dignity and respect.

“COTS lifted a massive weight off my shoulders. Through coming to COTS and getting the support I needed, my mental health has really improved.”

Ever since engaging with COTS and one of our partnerships, the NHS mental health team, a support network has been created to ensure Leila is getting the help that she needs. Now, sitting with Leila you would never know the adversities she has faced. It’s her smile, determination, and a hope to create a life for her daughter to flourish that shines through – something we’re certain that throughout her journey with ongoing support she will continue to achieve!

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