Local house project opens doors for Lancashire care leavers
Tuesday, July 27, 2021
Lancashire will be one of the first places in the country to adopt an innovative new way of ensuring young people leaving care have the long-term support they need to achieve successful independence.
The county council will be just one of 13 local authorities to set up a Local House Project, part of the National House Project, an initiative designed to put care leavers aged 16-18 in control of their future by ensuring they have a place to live, and a stable support network around them, for as long as they want it.
The National House Project is a registered charity and is part of the Department for Education’s Social Care Innovation Programme. The scheme recognises that moving from care to independent living is not always a positive experience for young people, and that local authorities should support this transition.
Through this long-term project, around 10 young people each year will be supported to move into their own homes.
At the heart of the project is the participation of the young people themselves who are taking part. The young people will receive community-based support, tailored to their needs, to help to prepare them for independent living, and also assist with general life-skills. This support is also designed to help the young people to build positive relationships with each other, their neighbours, and with the local community they live in, and in preparation for when they choose to move on to a permanent home.
County Councillor Cosima Towneley, cabinet member for children and families, said: "Living alone for the first time is a daunting prospect for anyone but particularly for care leavers who may not have the support of family members around them. Add the fact these young people will be setting up home at a much earlier age than most of their peers and there is every reason to bolster support to make such a step a positive and sustainable experience.
"Children in care deserve the same opportunities as any other child, and trying to address this is vitally important to us.
"Like all good parents, the council wants to give young people the very best chance in life and I'm delighted that we are committed to this project which is already being run successfully in other areas of the country.
"This is a first for care leavers in Lancashire. The Local House Project will enable them to move into their own home while receiving wrap-around support to develop the practical and emotional skills needed to live independently and to make their house their home. This is central to being successfully able to reduce homelessness for care leavers."
Georgia, aged 18, who is taking part in the project, said: "The National House Project is an amazing way to support the needs of young people leaving care by giving them a say in their own independence."
The Local House Project has been secured through the support of Lancashire's care leavers and works in partnership with Lancashire's housing authorities and registered housing providers.
Mark Warr, chief executive Officer of The House Project, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Lancashire County Council who are committed to improving the experiences, outcomes and lives of young people leaving care.
"Young people benefit from their involvement in the Local House Project, the relationships and support of their peer group, and the practical support they also get to enter the world of work.
"With a house they can actually call their home young people have the opportunity to succeed and achieve in their lives."
The initiative will be managed and run by Lancashire County Council with support and guidance from the National House Project. It is expected to cost the county council £83k in the first year, but is expected to be delivering savings of £220k and reduce the amount spent on residential placements by the end of the second year. Crucially though, the project will achieve better outcomes and help to avoid homelessness for care leavers. The county council is currently in discussions with district and borough councils to agree suitable locations for the project.
For more information visit: thehouseproject.org