Office entrance.

|Clock Icon5 minutes

"I used to think I was a shy person but I’m not shy at all..."

Sema who wears glasses and a head scarf, smiling.

Sema Cosgun

Sema is a former Home Group customer at Tyneside Foyer and now an income assistant at our Newcastle office

I’m a Turkish Muslim woman and I moved to the UK when I was 10. I spoke no English so I really struggled when I started school. I was bullied because of the way I looked, my beliefs and the way I spoke.

I moved to secondary school with zero confidence and thought if I didn’t speak to anyone I would be safe. That was the only way I knew how to protect myself but it didn’t work – the bullies still targeted me because I had no friends.

The first day I walked into school wearing my Hijab in Year 9 people looked at me in a disgusted way and the verbal abuse turned to physical assaults; hitting me, throwing things at me and refusing to sit near me.

It was horrible but I didn’t do anything to stop them or tell my family; I was too scared.

Sema, who wearing glasses and a head scarf, smiling.


I moved to Newcastle in Year 10 but the racism continued and I didn’t have any social life; I was spending all my time with my family because they were the only ones not judging me.

I started a study program at Home Group’s Tyneside Foyer; I still can’t believe what a totally different experience this was – the training team really helped and supported me. They encouraged me to start an apprenticeship which was the best move I’ve made in my life; I will never forget how Home Group has built my confidence up.

I used to think I was a shy person but I’m not shy at all; I was just scared to show my true self; something I don’t need to worry about now.

Home Group does touch people’s lives in a positive way; it’s not just a place to earn money; it’s my second family.

Help us improve our website. Did you find this web page useful?

The information we receive from this form is anonymous. This means we can't get back in touch. If you need our help, please get in touch.