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"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 "

"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."

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Melanie's Story

"My dad was in the labour party and ... I think I enjoyed when I was small...I think when my mum started to go to work, I didn’t like that and I was left looking after my sister ... when I was quite young really because I was about ten. And then in the six weeks holidays I had to look after Julie, she was eight and ... I feel now when I look back, probably that’s not right but you know at the time, I don’t know, we just used to be all right. But ... I suppose that did bother me.

My youngest sister she always used to go to my grandmas because she was only four ... I was fairly happy, you know, when I was young and my mum and dad were really good people but then ... when I got to about twelve they used to go out every night for a drink. Only down to the local ... but I hated being on my own with the two children you know, the other two, they were asleep but I wasn’t asleep and ... I didn’t like it at all but, you know, that was just the way it was.

But when I went to secondary school ... I met my boyfriend ... he lived on our street ... and we went out with each other and of course, because I was on my own at night with the other two, you know, there was opportunity and I got pregnant and I had to leave school at 14, nearly 15 ...."

Moved to The Croft in 1973.

[NB. The sound quality of this interview is poor].

"And I had my daughter at home ... I stayed at home but they wanted me to have her adopted and I didn’t want to so I stayed at home and my mum told my family and everything and, you know ... and so at 15 I had Emma, and then I got pregnant again because my mum when I came home I was quite ill after I’d had Emma so I was in hospital for three weeks and when I got home my mum said, “Oh you don’t need to have sex”, you know, because you’re only young and that and I didn’t know until later that she took my ... the thing that I got from Highbury Hospital, which was ... it had been addressed to me but she’d opened it obviously and it had said, come to think about family planning and she’d hidden it and ... of course then I still carried on with my boyfriend and I got pregnant again and I never told my mum and I was six months pregnant, still at home and she didn’t know ... and my ... I told them at work and ... they said they - my boss said - we’ll have to get something done and I went to ... she took me to the Salvation Army and the guy there ... came and told my mum that I was pregnant because I couldn’t tell him ... I couldn’t tell them and I ... she said “Well you can’t stay at home, you can’t stay here.” And she said that she didn’t love me any more and ... my dad did love me but ... he said that she couldn’t cope with it any more, she couldn’t cope with me being pregnant again so I had to go. But I had nowhere to go because I was only 16 and I didn’t want to lose Emma and she said she would keep Emma but she didn’t want me at home ... She said “What are you going to do with the child?” I said “Well I’m going to have it adopted, I don’t want, I know I can’t have the baby ... because I’ve got Emma" ... and so anyway she ... they got in touch with Ruth Johns at Family First and she offered me a place but because my daughter was over a year old I couldn’t take her with me. And I was a bit ... I was a bit upset about that but the thing is I would have lost her, you know, I’d nowhere to go, nothing, I couldn’t do anything and so I ... was ... I left home ... to have my baby ... but I only - I was only there a couple of months but ... I .... it was the bleakest time because I remember having to leave Emma at home with my mum that last day and go to work ... so she was taking her to nursery because she went to day nursery and ... knowing that I wouldn’t be at home that night. "