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Positive about being a parent

By West Briton  |  Posted: February 28, 2013

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THE Young Mums Will Achieve (YMWA) project has helped 160 teenage mothers gain training and qualifications in Cornwall since it started four years ago.

Chloe Spring, 18, from Truro, is on a literacy and maths course at Cornwall College, Camborne, like 60 young mothers across the county.

She fell pregnant soon after leaving school, having passed most of her GCSEs. It was a turning point in her life.

"I was scared about being a mum," she said.

"I used to joke about being pregnant, but when it happened I was alone and had no idea how I would cope.

"Having a child changed what I wanted to do. I no longer want to be a primary school teacher; I want to be a carer like my mum and sister."

She hopes to do a health and social care course in Truro and train as a nurse or paramedic.

"I'd rather stay in with my baby than go out and get drunk," she said.

"I've lost a lot of friends, but the ones I've got are more connected. I like it this way."

Mother of two Susan Wheeler, 19, is one of five siblings from Perranporth.

Having left home two months pregnant, she lived in a caravan and a B&B before moving to a flat in Camborne.

After giving birth to her son Theo she returned home and then moved to another B&B in Newquay before finally settling in a house in Camborne.

She first joined the YMWA in 2010 and now has hopes of doing social work.

"I think I'm the only one in my family that may go to university," she said. "If I go to Falmouth University it will help, because I can get support with my children.

"Most people think we have children to get flats and benefits, but I don't want to stay on benefits. Keeping a house and looking after children is hard work.

"This is my last chance; I want to get back into work and complete my exams."

Natasha Danahay, 17, says the YMWA course has given her greater confidence and a determination to get on in life.

"I was 16 when I moved out into a YMCA in Penzance and I then fell pregnant," she said. "I had to stand on my own two feet; I had to grow up quickly.

"I'm determined; I want to get somewhere. Having a baby doesn't mean my life's over.

"I enjoy coming to the YMWA course; I've made some good friends and it's been good for Matilda to meet other children at the crèche."

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