My body of work looks at the residents living in Peterborough Foyer hostel, otherwise known as ‘Tait House.’
It accommodates up to 49 people between the ages of 16 and 25. The hostel acts for some as a refuge.
The reasons why people live there vary and the residents move in and out on a daily basis. It is a small community of people from different backgrounds, each with their own stories to tell, lives to live and decisions to make, similar to the environment of any street in any town but crammed into one building.
Putting aside the reasons why the residents are living there, are they really any different from any other people who live with their family? Does it really affect what they make of their lives?
Each resident is given the same amount of time at the hostel. It is up to them what they do during this time; waste it, or make the most of it.
In 2009, aged 16, I moved into this hostel and I’m still there 2 years later. I’m probably one of the residents who have been living there the longest.
I’ve seen it all; arrests, fires, violence, drugs, vandalism. Despite some of the negativity, it gave me the push I needed to develop as a person. I still wonder whether I would be the same person as I am now, had I not moved there.
I will be leaving the hostel soon, so this project is my way of closing a chapter in my life, but still documenting the transition from a teenager into an independent individual, as well as documenting the lives of those who live in Tait House.
This work is an insight into hostels, from my eyes. I call it a stepping stone.
-Sarah Kathleen Page, June 2012
Room 114, Fern Cornwell. 15th June 2011. I became homeless a few days after my 17th birthday due to mine and my mother’s relationship deteriorating. It took me 3 weeks to be homed by Connexions as Peterborough Council refused to help me as my mother’s house was not technically part of Peterborough.
Room 110, Harry Lowe. Resident since 31st December 2011.
I was forced to live by myself after family conflicts after my father died. Eventually after a few months and an ultimatum, my mum and step father gave me until my 18th to find a new place. On my 18th birthday, Timestop phoned me to give me a place and I later moved into Tait, which I am beyond grateful for and very lucky.
Room 107, Leanne Marley. Resident since 29th November 2012.
I moved into Tait due to losing a job and my parents not allowing me to live at home if I was unemployed, which in effect stopped me from being in employment. Living in Tait has given me the foundation and stability to start my life fresh and I am now currently working full time in a job I had wanted for some time.
Room 35, Danielle Johnson. Resident since 9th March 2012.
I’m at Tait as relationships with parents and step-parents broke down. It has helped me, gave me a place to live and made me more independent.
Room 108, TG. Resident since 22nd November 2011.
I live at Tait because I wanted my own space. I had no intermediate family. I had a lot I wanted to do in life but I just didn’t have the means to do it. I’ve never felt that I’ve lacked in anything aside from money and an opportunity to better myself and Tait gave me that opportunity. It gave me a platform to pursue my career as a man starting out in life.
Room 105, Sarah Kathleen Page. Resident since 28th October 2009.
I was 16 when I moved into Tait House. It was my own choice to leave home. It helped me to overcome my anxiety and gave me the push and space I needed to become more independent and confident. I will have to leave soon, but when and to where I don’t know. It’s a scary thing being uncertain about the future and what might happen tomorrow.