#WomenBehind18Keys: Sophie Tyler

Sophie is a trained reflexologist, but currently works in various paid and voluntary roles, including at St Martin-in-the-Fields, at the Sunday International Group and on the 18 Keys campaign committee.

Why are you supporting the 18 Keys Project? 

There are a couple of reasons. With the International Group, although we mostly serve men, we have had a number of women come to us over the years. Unfortunately, probably none of them will be directly helped by 18 Keys. What I’ve seen, which is sometimes truly humbling but also scary, is how women cope with not having a home.

There are two types of people: those who manage to cope week after week without resorting to terrible coping mechanisms like alcohol or drugs, and those who are clearly new to rough sleeping, with a level of fear in their eyes that is just horrific. We aren’t there to help them with their housing directly, so all we can do is tell them to come back tomorrow if they’re not already on someone’s list for help, and to see the connection. 

Sophie Tyler

What does having a home mean to you?

It’s just fundamental. I think I would disintegrate incredibly fast if I didn’t have a safe home. It’s completely fundamental.

The only time when I haven’t known where I’m going to sleep or have somewhere to sleep, was for two nights when I travelled to Germany as a student and I realised that my student accommodation wouldn’t let me in until the Monday. I was travelling with a friend and she had a room and I slept on her floor for two nights.

What is your favourite room at home?

It’s our living room. It changes character because the sun moves round and then it can be quite cold in the afternoon, and then you really feel you want to draw the curtains, but certainly in the morning. I love the room.

What sort of feelings come to mind when you’ve had a difficult day, when you come home and you can shut the door behind you?

Relief. Just an almost instant reduction of anxiety.

The 18 Keys project will come to life in a redeveloped property owned and managed by The Connection at St Martin’s. 

Our goal is to raise £2.3m. Your support will help pay for the redevelopment, which will include one-to-one therapy rooms, studio apartments, emergency bed spaces and a new communal area.

You can make a one-off donation, or set up a regular donation. Donate here.

Sign up here for updates →

* indicates required

Sign up here for updates →