Saving Norman

by Deborah Hodge in Bexleyheath, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 13th March 2017 we successfully raised £96 with 9 supporters in 56 days

More than half a million Britons are facing eviction from the homes they rent or own, My family are now one of these statistics.

by Deborah Hodge in Bexleyheath, England, United Kingdom

How dare a single mother of 4 crowdfund for 400000? 

Just the initial idea will provoke anger and controversy.  A fury has been whipped up amongst British culture so that those daring to be outside the system face hatred and anger.

I should know:  since appearing on This morning I have been trolled mercilessley and have even received death threats.

So, here is our story and why I am asking for help.

We moved into Norman in March 2014.  Norman is a detached 2 bed house but we converted a tiny office and downstairs living room to be bedrooms.

I had left my teaching job after my partner was sectioned and my traumatised children returned with me home to Bexleyheath where two of the fathers live and a set of grandparents live.

Yes, you are right.  My children have different fathers.  This too has been cause for much anger.

By Decemeber 2014, my youngest daugher then 18 months, was so ill she nearly died. 

In January 2015, we were served a section 21.

We were served notice because I did not have a guarantor for the property.  Nobody would come forward to simply sign a piece of paper.

So, instead of lying down and becoming hopeless, I held a demonstration outside my house. 

I was naiive.  I thought the press would care.

Thankfully, the old lady who owns the property took pity on us and we formed an agreement.  Her children needed the rent to pay for her  care - home and we needed a place to live.

We could not go to the council becuase we had been away from the area and even having been a well respected teacher for 12 years in the area did not count for anything.

When I realised that after recovering from abuse, rape, trauma and then the near death of my baby, I also was in a trecherous housing situation with no family to rescue us: something snapped inside.

I was using our benefit system, one which I am still proud to say exists.  The NHS saved my baby yet the whole housing situation is deeply flawed.

House prices have rocketed, yet salaries haven't.  Stability and security are a thing of the past and 4,000 homes are at risk of being repossessed every day.  Homeless figures doubled in the last 3 years but provision has halved.

I realised we were tiny minnows in a sea of despair and I had to be VERY loud to even be heard.

So, after winning the right to stay, still with a poorly but recovering daughter, I decided to use my gifts and to try and  be noticed.

I published my first book not long after "Putting Back Together The Pieces You Broke" The story behind the revolution and invented my pen name Cecily Baker. 

I also created a new persona.   Deborah Hodge was timid and shy after years of awful treatment, but Cecily Baker became flambouyant, sexy, unconventional, loud but most of all fearless.

She began doing crazy things to try and get in the media which could lead to book sales.  Self publishing means you get about £1  per unit so a miracle had to happen.  I tried to exhibit my art work too in London, but could only find a library to show my work.  It did get into the evening standard though.

I started applying to television shows.  "My career in shit television".  You may have seen me on Judge Rinder, Victoria Derbyshire, Channel 5 and even getting a tattoo and more things are due out.

All my activities were undertaken with a poorly baby at home.  Thank you to my son for helping with her.  Our lives have been very sporadic due to her special needs and time we have needed to spend with her.

I even won a grand on "pick me" at Christmas 2015 and spent the lot on nice things for the children.  You will see our lovely video on Cecily Baker's You tube channel. 

Being an eternal optimist and being told by various producers I was "interesting" i never gave up hope I could be spotted.  These things do happen.  I also changed my look and style endlessley to try and get attention that way.  It becomes handy when you can cut your own hair and make clothes.

Now in January 2017, the unthinkable has happened.

The old lady who owns the property has died.  We ran out of time and they will be selling Norman from under us and we have been served final notice.

Now with job offers starting to come in after advertising on Linkedin: I realise I am still in a chicken and egg situation.

We can't simply "go down the council" as it used to be.  Overcrowding means that if we were lucky enough to find a home straight away, we could get housed anywhere around the country.  We would also be placed into temporary accomodation, again anywhere.

After our previous trauma, I would rather the girls lived with their Daddy's than go through the upheaval of being placed anywhere.  If you have seen in the press, these properties can be hellish.  My youngest still suffers with her health and would need specialist care when I go back to work.

I also need a guarantor to rent a property over 1300 a month, which they are round here.  Things haven't changed and I don't have one.  My salary has to be over 55K to even think about afording a property here and if I have working tax credits too, it won't count toward what I need to rent.  And I still need a guarantor even then due to my credit rating.

The government is clever, because they are classed as "tax credits" there is not the stigma, but they are still seen as benefits to letting agents.  Plus, we are in real danger of these too being taken away.


London has outpriced people. 

I've whipped up a big maelstrom so far.   Enough that people know who I am. 

I discovered that controversy makes news, not a woman desperate to find a forever home for her children.

I had hundreds of thousands of negative comments after my This Morning appearance.   The benefits system carries a stigma.  Even if the person has been deliberately whipping up a storm for attention and the stories have been embellished.  Being called a bitch, a whore etc. isn't nice.  For what? Saying I spent money on my children at Christmas?

But, I have also had support.  People going out of their way to send positive messages. 

So now, just because there may be a miracle and this goes viral:  I ask for a pound.  Just one pound from 400000 people. 

In terms of value for money, look back on my antics over the last 12 months.  I think my comedy value is worth a pound.  My bare faced brazen ness about trying to get attention.  Just see if you can join all the dots!

You've seen me online, seen me getting a tattoo and even recently seen me topless in a newspaper (don't rush to look .. its a god awful picture).

I have more shows coming up and although I can't reveal too much, you will even see me in spanks.


Well, apart from the obvious entertainment or gossip value, you could actually shut me up.   All my craziness has been to get us a forever home.  Once we have one, I will retire I promise.

Or will I? 

Actually no. 

My long game is politics. 

I was a consumer before we landed on our arses, caught by the benefits system.  I did judge the poor.  But now I have seen first hand the prejudice our government and media is whipping up to detract from the real problem.

The system itself.

I stood for London Mayor in 2016 and I intend to stand for Parliament again. 

My first action will be to campaign to abolish MP's "perks":  second homes, expense accounts, lavish dinners etc. 

My second will be the NHS.  THe same NHS that saved my daughter.  The NHS that is being slowly strangled and sold off.

Next I will challenge wages.  Why do Bankers get paid more than nurses?  Why are working class wages so low?

Then the tax evasion abroad from wealthy businessmen and businesses.  This money would save our NHS.

Do I need to go on?

But first we need a forever home. 

If we can raise the capital for Norman we can stay here. 

If by any miracle this crowdfund actually took off, any extra money would be used to renovate him as he has serious structural issues and damp.

Any extra would then be used first to help Asociacion de Animales de Berja. Reg No. 5272 where we recently adopted two puppies that would most certainly have died without their intervention.  Then the rest to set up my political party. 

Go rogue and independent I say.  The big parties are too fractured to actually make a difference.

A slightly unhinged, unpredictable single mother who has had to deal with life's hardships with a mission for equality is scary.  I simply do not take no for an answer.

If you have read this far thank you.  If you are behind my cause simply donate a pound and then share.  I speak for the millions of people like me every day who are getting shafted by the government when they only want a place to call home and security.

I have job offers on the table now so please don't troll me and call me a scrounger.  My daugher still isn't a hundred percent but its now time to work again. but I am just working out hours etc.

All I ever wanted was a forever home for my children.  Somewhere modest that we can call home and they never experience what it is like to be threatened with evicition.

Thank you for reading.


This project offers rewards in return for your donation

£20 or more

£20 Reward

A copy of "Putting Back Together The Pieces You Broke: A story behind the revolution

£200 or more

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£200 Reward

A painting of Richard Branson.

£500 or more

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£500 Reward

A hand painted portrait

£1,000 or more

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£1,000 Reward

you will have a day out with me, a photoshoot, a portrait painted of you, signed first edition copies of my new novels.

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