Barnardo’s is launching a new pilot project to give extra support to Jersey’s most vulnerable young adults.
It is looking for local families who can provide a stable home environment for 18 to 21 year olds who have left care or who are living in unsuitable accommodation.
The charity is hoping to initially recruit four host families for six months.
Barnardo’s runs Thomas House residential home for care-leavers to provide a ‘stepping-stone’ towards independent living. It now wants to create ‘supported lodgings’ in the local community.
The project has been funded by a £96,000 donation from the Philip Gower Charitable Foundation and is based on similar services in the UK.
Host families will offer their young lodger practical and emotional support and life skills such as cooking, shopping, budgeting, laundry and housework. They will receive weekly payments and ongoing support, supervision and training.
“Care-leavers are one of the most vulnerable groups in society and often begin adult life at a huge disadvantage compared to most of their peers. Their own parents may have been unable to support them and they can be in desperate need of an emotional connection to others.
It can be a very isolating and lonely experience, and inappropriate placements increase the risks of homelessness and other problems such as substance misuse and criminal behaviour. So an additional option is needed if they’re not quite ready for independent living and having their own tenancy.
We believe supported lodgings could be part of the solution – offering the benefits of a family environment to develop their confidence and capability at a gradual and manageable pace.” – Sammy Price, Barnardo’s.
Single people, couples and families can all be considered and it doesn’t matter if they’re in full-time or part-time employment, or unemployed.
“Even the simplest things – such as returning home and being asked if you’ve had a good day – can mean so much to a young person who is alone and unsure of their place in the world. They just need to know they have someone to turn to, someone who will look out for them.
The right support at the right time, as they transition into adulthood and independence, can provide them with everything they need to become successful young adults.”
James (not his real name) was placed in Thomas House at the age of 17 following spells in foster care, secure accommodation and a care home.
He admits he was ‘off the rails’, suffering from anger-management issues and involved in anti-social behaviour.
Now 20, he says the semi-independent accommodation and support offered by Barnardo’s has changed him in every way.
“It’s made me more confident and competent too. I do so much more for myself, and I am living much more healthily too. I cook my meals from scratch and include plenty of fresh ingredients and vegetables.
I feel sharper and more focused, It’s been really good for me.
I still get low spells, and I still get annoyed at times, but I finally feel that I am closer to being happy. It has been a very long time but I can finally see light at the end of the tunnel.”