National housing charity Chapter 1 celebrated this week in St Leonard’s because Turner House, their mother and baby service in the town, is 25 years’ old.
The house was named after the Rev Eric Turner who was the Chairman of St Leonards Christian Alliance. He was the driving force behind the scheme. As the years passed, Christian Alliance became Chapter 1, and Eric Turner retired. However, he returned yesterday (Thursday July 16) to attend the anniversary as guest of honour.
Chapter 1 Turner House can accommodate 11 mothers, their babies and young children, all of whom have a connection with the area. They can stay for up to two years, although many move on sooner to live independently in the community.
Manager Jean-Paul Dunin, explained: “At Chapter 1 we believe every person who lives here is an individual with individual needs. We’re here to help the young mothers feel good about themselves and their babies. They can arrive feeling anxious and low in motivation. However, very soon they become part of the Chapter 1 family.
“We support them to care for their children and also to learn the life skills they will need to live on their own – from simple things like managing a household budget and eating healthily, to DIY and digital skills.”
Over the years Chapter 1 Turner House has helped more than 350 young women to change their lives for the better, and they would love to hear from any former residents – mothers or children – who would like to share their stories with today’s young mothers; get in touch through Facebook – search Turner House, or call the Chapter 1 team on 01424 427613.