Scarborough Carolyn S

In October 2016, I was served with notice to leave the place I was renting in Newmarket. The get out or else day, December 31st. I didn’t laugh. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise but it still shocked me. I had no idea what to do.

Scarborough Carolyn s

One of the many peaceful views

My long term partner had died in 2014. We had moved to this house 18 months before. My first shock came with how broke I was. He had dealt with all the finances, competently, but he worked to cash-flow, never budgeting. I had just £120. I found work and applied for housing allowance but it was fraught. I was temping and they couldn’t cope with my weird work schedules.

Looking back I have no idea how I survived. I knew something had to change.

In the summer of last year, I had mentioned to a friend that there was no reason for me to stay in Newmarket, and I wondered about moving to Scarborough. You see my mother had been born there and there were strong ties. But it felt like it was just a dream, unachievable. I was 63 and broke. Completely broke.

Then that fateful notice arrived. From somewhere I pulled myself together and thought about starting up a 'go fund me'. If people could get funding for fake boobs, then why couldn’t I. It went against the grain, charity, begging, confessing to being on my uppers. Along with, 'what would my parents have thought'.

Scarborough Carolyn s

Sunny Scarborough

I spoke to a dear friend on Facebook about Scarborough, where he lived, and he started the search for somewhere for me to live. Meanwhile I looked at this 'Go Fund Me' site and took a deep breath, bared my soul. I don’t think I have ever been so low. I spoke to local housing of course, but they said I had made myself 'intentionally homeless'. I could see myself living in a car with two cats. It’s November 2016, and I start my 'go fund me' page. It was very hard to write about it all and beg.

But I laid out my plan, also my budget, showing where the money would go and hit the button.

I was terrified, depressed, and very alone at that moment. An only child, with parents long gone. It wasn’t easy. Within minutes people started donating. Friends, long lost colleagues, and people I had never heard of and the generosity was overwhelming. I managed 80 percent of my target. I was on my way. How I cried. Embarrassed, grateful, relieved. All of the emotions.

Scarborough Carolyn S

Some of the wonderful Scarborough gang

In December I made two trips to Scarborough. Thanks to my dear friend I had found a flat. I was on my way. I moved in on January 6th. Me plus two cats. I had to ask my old landlord for an extra week, after all, who moves on December 31st.

I have not looked back.

Scarborough Carolyn S

My cats have settled too in Scarborough

Ironically the local council in Suffolk, suddenly woke up, and agreed to back payment of housing allowance. Three months too late but at least my landlord received it, although what I was meant to do if I hadn’t moved. It doesn’t bear thinking about. I now have armfuls of friends up here, a new life, and a very good one.

The moral of this is do not despair. Ask for help. People are amazing. Scarborough is amazing.

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