Young People’s Stories

“My future is so much brighter and I have made stronger and lifelong friendships”

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Kian’s Story

Kian, 19, has recently moved on from Amber’s centre in Devon and is working full time job as a sous chef at a popular North Devon restaurant overlooking the sea.

Last year, however, Kian’s life was in freefall. He left home after relations with his family broke down in September – he was sofa surfing at first but ended up sleeping rough for a number of weeks. His housing officer at North Devon council suggested he apply for a place at Amber.

“I was offered a place quickly and just over a week after I applied I moved in. It was scary at first but I settled in after a few weeks. The staff were really helpful especially my team leader, Tom, he helped me get support for my mental health. He really made time for me and was a really good listener. Being around people who had been through similar things was helpful too – we all help each other out.”

Kian has always been a keen cook having studied catering at college. At each Amber centre there is a rota system in place and residents take turns to cook for the whole house in teams. Kian really enjoyed being in the kitchen at Amber especially when he was able to experiment with puddings and cakes.

“During lock down I made a tray bake from left over Easter egg chocolate and some packet mixes – it ended up working really well – and was demolished in minutes by the other young people staying here.”

During his stay at Amber Kian had a chance to attend a Sleep-out event at the Eden Project. While there he was introduced to someone who worked at the Rick Stein Group. This led to some amazing opportunities for Kian and supported by Amber staff he attended a dessert planning session with all the head chefs from the Rick Stein restaurants and a cook off event where he able to cook up dishes alongside them.

“Being given those opportunities was a great confidence booster – amazing to be listened to by all those top chefs some of whom have been working in the industry for decades”

Over the last few months of his stay at Amber Kian felt ready to get back in touch with his mum and they were able to rebuild their relationship to a point that they felt able to live together again.

“My life is so much better now and I feel like I am progressing again – the restaurant is really busy. The owner of the restaurant has really appreciated my work – he really liked the way I presented the roasts on Sunday and told the other chefs he wanted it done like the way I did it from now on. If it wasn’t for Amber being there when I needed it I know I wouldn’t be where I am now. I was in a bit of a state when I first arrived – I think my stay there saved me really –without it I really think I could have died.”

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