Before starting the programme, I was literally doing nothing. I was homeless, had nowhere to live and I’d just gone into supported housing. In terms of activity, I used to play football, but I pretty much stopped because of my mental health. I have real bad anxiety from PTSD and because of that I found it hard to do anything.

I was feeling like every day was just the same and knew I needed to do something to make a change, I saw an advert for Get on Track on the North Yorkshire Sport Twitter page so thought I’d give it a go. Over the course of the programme, we did loads of different things. We did climbing, mountain biking, played rugby on the beach, we even went to an inflatable park in Beverley! It was great to try loads of different sports like dodgeball and boxfit. I think the boxing was my favourite. Paul (athlete mentor) had seen me punch a wall the previous week and we’d talked about ways of handling frustration… the boxing session gave me a really good outlet for some of the anger I had.

It was really good working with both Paul and James (athlete mentors) they were both really enthusiastic and really cared throughout the programme.  The first day I went I was terrified, but they just sat me down, made me a cup of tea and just made us feel welcome. I learned so much from them over the course of the programme, they talked about their experiences and how you come back from failure. I learned what it meant to be a good leader and I’ve developed the confidence to stand up in front of a group and talk to people so much more now.

Because of the confidence I gained, I took up surfing and then started volunteering for the Wave Project, it’s been amazing. It’s hard to describe why I love it so much, you can’t think about anything else when you’re doing it, you need to be fully focussed. I really find the sea is so calming.

You can read more about how Hannah got involved with the Wave Project here

After finishing the programme, I moved into my own place and was writing articles for different news outlets. In June 2020 I started working at the Centre for Homelessness Impact as a Lived Experience Specialist. It’s been amazing ensuring that in everything we do, we include real stories and experiences. The highlight has been organising a five-week online Impact Festival which was super busy and intense and I’m really enjoying leading on a current project about language around homelessness.

I’ve tried to make the most of every opportunity I’ve had, and it’s been great to share my story in the media including being on BBC Breakfast TV talking about my journey and also making an appearance on Victoria Derbyshire.

I’ve always enjoyed writing and when lockdown started, I decided to write a book about my life. It was hard at times but therapeutic as well and I’m so proud that My Journey Home was published in April 2021! If you want to read more about my story, you can order it here.

Looking back, I would recommend Get on Track 100% to anyone. It improved my confidence so much, helped me to become more active and opened lots of new doors for me.

Hannah attended the Get on Track for Wellbeing programme in Scarborough in partnership with North Yorkshire Sport. Thanks to funding from Sport England, we are working with 700 young people in coastal communities all across England to help them become more active.