When Romsey Mill first heard about Carly* she was really tricky to get hold of – numerous calls and messages went unanswered. Then suddenly, one day, there was a voice at the other end of the phone! Carly had just given birth, but amazingly was up for a very quick chat with one of Romsey Mill’s Young Parents Workers, and this was the start of something new.

Becoming a mum was a huge turning point for Carly, and she was able to break free from an abusive relationship. It was soon evident that Carly is a naturally caring and attentive mum. Understandably, the abuse Carly had experienced continued to have an impact on her life, though and for many months Carly was too anxious to do much outside of her parents’ home.

Christian Osborne, one of our Young Parents Development Workers, started offering home visits, though and connected with Carly by offering help with independent living skills as Carly found a new home. This regular contact led to Carly being willing to try out Romsey Mill’s young parents’ baby group at Romsey Mill Centre, with support from Christian. Carly’s initial anxiety and shyness in the group steadily reduced and both Carly and baby Fay* became relaxed and communicative regulars.


Then, alongside baby group Carly decided to try out Romsey Mill’s Eating Healthily on a Budget course, learning practical cooking skills and being taught about nutrition and managing finances.

To start with, Fay was very unsettled in creche, so staff or volunteers would frequently be cuddling Fay, whilst watching Carly cook from a safe distance. Having completed that course, Carly was eager to continue with other accessible skills courses. Boosting her confidence, engagement with training and education, and enjoying the new friendships that she was able to develop with other young parents.

The following term, Carly successfully completed the Bronze Arts Award course, delivered in partnership with the Fitzwilliam Museum, during which, according to one of the team, Carly “found her joy again”. She was heard to laugh aloud for the first time since she had engaged with the Young Parents Programme, and said she was happier than she’d ever been.

Since then, Carly has also completed a self -esteem course, that Romsey Mill delivers, as well as the Mums Matter course, focussing on mental health.

Carly’s daughter, Fay, now attends Romsey Mill’s Pre-school sessions. The confident, smiley, chatty young woman who signed Fay up to attend pre-school, is very different from the person who was on the other end of the phone, during that initial conversation with Romsey Mill’s Young Parents team..

We asked Carly’s permission to tell her story and she gave us this quote, so we can finish with her words rather than ours:

“Romsey Mill has helped me through many stages of motherhood. They have helped me be more confident and come out of my shell.

Christian’s encouragement to go to baby group was a great introduction to meet people like me and helped me get out the house and be more active with my baby.

I’m so glad I made that first step of pushing myself out of my comfort zone at the time and everyone made me feel so comfortable.”

*not their real names