“All the way to the station in the cab I was just dreading where I was going to end up. When they told me it was an estate in Warrington, all I could think of was the grim and desolate estates you see on TV where crime and drugs are everywhere.
I’ve never really been up north at all in my life, and what I’ve seen today is every bit as bad as I’ve heard – much worse than where I grew up in London. When I was in the taxi going to where I was going to live, I was feeling nervous enough. Then I gave the driver the address, and he said: ‘Are you sure mate? I wouldn’t stay round here myself if I had a choice!’ I feel like I want to go home and I’m not so sure I can do this any more. The place where I’ve got to live [for a week] is a filthy bedsit. When I signed up for this, I thought maybe I’d get to go to a hotel at night, but I’m in this place with no fridge or TV. Worse, there are no curtains.
I don’t really like what I can see outside that much. The whole place doesn’t really feel that safe, the streets are a mess and the people don’t look friendly. It doesn’t feel much like television any more! I’ve just been out to the shops to get food and things to live on while I’m here. They’ve given me £64 for a week – it’s not good, I’m going to be on beans and bread and butter. The chip shop seems to be doing a roaring trade. On the way back I met some kids, who looked like they were on drugs and completely off their heads. It’s not nice here, I don’t feel safe to sleep.”
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