Course studied: BA (Hons) Humanities and PGCE
I knew my vocation was to help others through rough times in their lives
More about Tracy
After finding herself homeless aged 14, NTU alum Tracy Dickinson turned her life around. Now she supports others facing difficulties through her organisation Tracy’s Street Kitchen.
Now in its 7th year, Tracy’s Street Kitchen provides food packages and meals to those in need. In 2016 when the organisation was founded, Tracy would take to the streets alone with just a backpack and flask to provide food and drinks to the homeless community. These days she is supported by a committed team of volunteers and sponsors who have helped the organisation to reach even more people in need.
When asked where her passion for helping others began, Tracy explained ‘I wanted to help others to achieve from a young age. After being in care and on the streets homeless myself, I knew my vocation was to help others through rough times in their lives.’
Tracy’s Street Kitchen has gone from strength to strength. Following changes brought in by the COVID-19 pandemic, the organisation has evolved further in recent years.
During the pandemic, local authorities offered accommodation to the homeless community. Although most of the City’s homeless were now housed, food was still scarce for these individuals and others. Tracy’s Street Kitchen and other local organisations began working together to continue providing food so that no one was left hungry.
The organisation now focusses on helping families, pensioners and the genuinely disadvantaged across the Greater Nottingham area by providing parcels containing food and essentials. They also support school breakfast and afterschool programs in their local community, ensuring that those who need food and basic supplies have access to them.
Tracy explained ‘Since starting Tracy’s Street Kitchen in 2016, it has been tireless- endless phone calls to help those in need, collections for donations, feeding the homeless, working with local schools to provide food for those in poverty, supplying breakfast and after school clubs to ensure children are fed a decent meal.’
Amazingly Tracy does all of this alongside her full-time job as a Support Worker.
This can be hugely challenging, but Tracy’s commitment to caring for others is clear. She says ‘Throughout my career, and in my current role working alongside people with challenging behaviour, I have experienced physical and verbal abuse which can be mentally straining at times. On the other hand, there is also a strong relationship that is formed with those who appreciate me for what I do. I love helping others to achieve even a little personal goal.'
During her time at NTU Tracy worked incredibly hard to complete her studies alongside other important commitments. ‘I was a single mum, a mature student and had two jobs to survive the costs of parenthood. It was important to me to do what I believed in and still do believe in, making that difference to every person I meet. The highs of seeing people of all abilities to achieve their goals, no matter how big or small make the hard work worthwhile.’
Tracy is a truly inspirational alum; her success proves what a difference hard work and commitment to the causes that mean the most to you can make to the lives of yourself and others.
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