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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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Susan's Story

"I had really special parents and they died when I was little.  My dad died when I was six. He had a haulage business and we had a chippy that did actually close down but we still lived at the shop and ... and then my mum didn’t work again, she died when I was nine and my eldest sister brought me up and when I was the best part of eleven we moved into Ilkeston itself and ... My sister and brother in law became my legal guardians and wasn’t as good, to say the least.

We used to have what was called, 'Careers' [at school) and we had a Careers Adviser and he advised me not to go into a factory and he had a friend that had got a hairdressing salon and he would put a word in for me if I wanted to do hairdressing, he thought that would suit me ... and that was what I did ... and then I got asthma, which has turned out years down the track that I actually had a bird allergy. And I got a lung inflammation and it was really the bird that was making me wheeze and couldn’t get my breath and so the doctor actually advised me to give it up ... he said I can’t tell you to give it up but I would advise you it will only get worse, you know, with the hair spray. So then I went to work with old people and I worked in a nursing home."

Moved to The Croft in 1973.


"So when it came to that I actually got pregnant there was always some excuse that I couldn’t have my day off and I was missing hospital appointments and, you know, things like that. The actual work I loved. I loved looking after old people. I think it kind of were a little bit of how I helped look after my mum, you know, so there was some connection there that made me feel nice. But ... the woman that owned the nursing home she said ... well at first she was trying to get me to have an abortion and then she tried to get me to have my baby adopted and then she said I could live there with the baby. And I said 'you must be joking, I haven’t got time for myself, so I could I possibly look after a baby?' Anyway when it came to the next appointment at the hospital, I kept that one and they was concerned that I wasn’t making the appointments and they didn’t want me to go back to the Nursing Home and they said like that, you know ... They wanted me to see the Social Worker and she said ... well firstly she said, would I like to, you know, give the baby up for adoption and give it a better life but having lost my parents when I was young, I know that parents are the best thing for the baby, yes. And so basically she said had I got anywhere I could stay and she’d get me in somewhere as soon as possible. And...I went to my Aunty and Uncles. They weren’t my proper aunty and uncle. The woman I called aunty was my mum’s best friend and they put me up for a while and that is where I was given a place at The Croft.

How old were you at this time?

I was twenty when I was pregnant. I was twenty-one when I had her. Yeah