Vital support is urgently needed to give young people in Middlesbrough the stable home life that will help them move towards independence.
Middlesbrough Council’s Pathways Leaving Care team is on the look-out for people who can provide a room in their home to young people aged 18 to 21 leaving care.
They will join the existing team of Supported Lodgings providers who help young people gain independent living skills such as cooking, budgeting, shopping, and most importantly self-confidence.
Research has shown these young people live independently much sooner than their peers but they have not always had the opportunities to develop the life skills and confidence required to maintain a tenancy successfully.
Hosts - from all walks of life and cultural and ethnic backgrounds - are expected to reside in the property full time, but are free to pursue their own lifestyle, including daily routine, work and holidays.
They are expected to provide a home-like environment and domestic routine in keeping with the young person’s needs and their engagement with education, training or work.
Peter, an 18-year-old care leaver, said: “I feel I am really benefiting from the Supported Lodgings scheme - I have my own independence but know the support is there for me when I need it.
“I feel it’s giving me the chance to learn all the skills I need for when I get my own flat, learning things that other young people take for granted, like how to cook a meal for myself, shopping on a budget and knowing how to pay bills.
“When I do move on, I feel I will be able to cope a lot better than I would have if I hadn’t had this opportunity to prepare myself.”
Tracey, a Supported Lodgings Provider for more than eight years, added: “I feel privileged that these youngsters allow me into their lives to share the next chapter.
“To see the young people learn to trust you and come to you for support, to give them the time they need to get to the place they need to be feels amazing.
“Giving them the chance to learn the practical skills they will need when they move onto independence is something that will stay with them to help them be successful in their own home.
“I’m so lucky that so many of my youngsters keep in contact with me, and I just love what I do.
“To work so closely with these young people and support them through upset, hugs, talking, and just giving them time, then weeks later to see them so confident, so positive and so full of life is such an amazing feeling.”
Mike Carr, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Children’s Services, said: “There is nothing more important than giving our children the best possible start in life, and for young people leaving care the transition period is of critical importance.
“Supported Lodgings act as a vital ‘stepping stone’ to independence, and we urgently need more people to help us to provide this life-changing service
“It’s not about qualifications - it’s more about understanding the issues facing young people.
“It involves being prepared to act as an advocate, having a sense of humour – and above all the desire to make a positive difference to the young person’s life.”
- All applicants are subject to background checks, and will undertake a training and assessment programme. Ongoing support and advice is available to all involved.
For further information, visit https://middlesbrough.gov.uk/social-care-and-wellbeing/childrens-services/supported-lodgings or contact Pathways Accommodation & Development Officer Denise Poskett on 01642 354103/0.