A big-hearted Hemsworth businesswoman is helping homeless teenagers by giving them a place to live.
Carol Dawson, owner of the Distant Memories shop, became homeless at the age of 15 after a family breakdown.
But now at the age of 53, she is a community host for the YMCA White Rose Step-In project, which helps homeless teenagers and gives them guidance to stand on their own feet.
She said: “When I was homeless there weren’t any services to help.
“I was 15 and had no support, nowhere to live and no money.
“That’s why I got involved in this project, I wanted to help and try to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”
Miss Dawson has been a community host for the project for two and a half years and has helped 17 young people by taking them into her home and supporting them to go into education or get a job.
She said: “When these young people come to me they often have no birth certificate and no money.
“I help them open a bank account so they can start getting benefits and I then ensure they either go to college or get a job.
“I give them guidance and show them how to cook, budget their money and teach them general life skills which they will need once they get their own place to live.”
Miss Dawson, who is also a spiritualist medium, said January was a particularly bad month for people becoming homeless.
She said: “Most homeless young people go home to family or friends over Christmas.
“But once the festive period is over the issues they originally had which caused them to leave in the first place return and they soon find themselves on the streets again.”
Miss Dawson, who also looks after her grandson, is hoping to get another house this year so she can take in six homeless teenagers.
She added: “I can currently take care of two young people at my house but my aim for this year is to get another property so I can help more.
“I want it to be close to my house so I can keep an eye on them but it would give the ones who need less support the chance to have a bit of independence.
“It would make the transition from living with me to living on their own easier because they wouldn’t feel like they had been completely abandoned.”
She is also asking for donations of bedding, towels, small kitchen appliances and utensils to help kit the young people out once they move into their own home.
To donate visit Distant Memories on Station Road, Hemsworth or call Miss Dawson on 0 7947809807.