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"The Croft was like being a family without being family ... You are starting again. You are starting afresh and you could be who you wanted to be"

"It was a very good environment, in particular for the time when having a baby as a single parent you were very much a second class citizen and looked down on."

"Good memories, good memories, It was what I needed... I mean I dread to think what might have happened to me if there wasn't the The Croft at the time "

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More Stories from the Croft
Barbara's Story

I left home when I left college and I went to live with my sister and her husband and I worked at Mansfield Town Football club which my mother thought was terrible because ... she thought a football club would be a dirty, horrible place and all those men. It wasn’t a dirty, horrible place. I had a nice office and I loved that job, but I only did it a year.

I sort of had fanciful ideas.  One of my ideas I left school with was that I wanted to go and work for television, I wanted to be a Continuity Girl and I wrote to every TV station - my mother helped me get the addresses of all the TV companies - But, of course, I was very naive, not understanding what a closed shop it is, and if you hadn’t been to Oxford you hadn’t got a hope. 

When I left Mansfield Town I went to Sheffield ... because I’d got a friend from school who was living in Sheffield and I liked the idea of living in a city ... Got a job there and that’s where I met Emma’s father. And he was French - still is French - and he was over here teaching ... We met at a New Years Eve party and we ended up living together which was quite risqué for those days. I suppose I’ve always been a bit of a rebel.  I didn’t see it as a major issue.

Moved to The Croft in 1972

"I went to stay with my sister in her ... she’d moved to Nottingham as a Social Worker and she’d been given a flat in Caunton Avenue, which is just up on Woodborough Road ... it was down the bottom of Thyra Grove, which is the next road to Dagmar Grove where The Croft is. [Coughs] And I remember sitting there with her saying, y’know, 'I can’t be the only woman in Nottingham ... who gets pregnant and lives on her own ... maybe I could see about trying to find some other people who are in the same boat and perhaps sharing a house.' I couldn’t really think what to do. But I went to see a woman at the Christian Adoption Society ... and I said – y’know, she said, ‘Why are you having the baby adopted?’ And I said because ‘I can’t keep it.’ And she said, ‘Well some do,’ and I said, ‘Well how?’ And she said, ‘Well, there’s Family First ... and you get Supplementary Benefit,’ ... whatever they called it then. Well, I’d never heard of ... benefits of any kind ... I didn’t know people got paid such a thing as benefits, because no one in my family had ever needed it ... And I didn’t know about Family First, of course, and she gave me the number, for Ruth Johns, the woman at the Adoption Society, she could obviously see my heart wasn’t in it – I was sort of saying all these things but I knew I wasn’t going to do it really, I can’t understand – I know it sounds silly - but I was sort of saying about having my baby adopted and it was like, ‘yeah right,’ you know, ‘I’m not really going to do this.’ [Coughs]. And I remember I was obviously invited for interview or whatever to go and see The Croft, Ruth Johns at The Croft, and she offered me a room. And it turned out to be round the corner from where I was staying with my sister, which struck me as odd because I do remember saying to her at some point, I don’t remember the chronological order but I remember saying to her, ‘I can’t be the only girl who’s got herself in this position. Maybe I ought to try and get in touch with others and share a house or something.’ I remember saying that. And then I got offered this room. I don’t remember how long I waited for it. I was working in Nottingham at that time, and I gave my notice in, and the chap was very upset and tried to persuade me to stay ... And I gave my notice in very early; I was only about 5 months pregnant, but I did it because I was so, getting so big."