My husband and I have been providing supported lodgings for the last 6 months now. It’s been just amazing seeing the young person we’ve had in our care grow in confidence and we simply can’t put a value on having her here.
We felt like it was the right time to do this. Our son, who is 26, and our daughter, who is 22, are now settled in their adult lives, so we felt like we not only had the spare room but extra time to give too.
Having 38 years’ worth of experience in social care really opened my eyes to what a young person in care experiences and that was the driver behind becoming a supported lodgings provider. It’s also a good alternative to fostering, as I work full time, but it is just as rewarding.
I really feel that a young person in care needs support up to the age of 21, so that they have that transition into independent living.
It’s more than just providing a home and support for independent living though. At that age family support and nurturing is still incredibly important. Especially when they may have suffered significant trauma and neglect or abuse. They need to be nurtured to achieve their goals in the future.
They need that time to heal and I felt that I could make a real difference to a young person’s life by giving them that time.
The 18-year-old we have staying with us needs the emotional stability of a family environment. Her goal is to get to university, so we support her with her education and encourage her to take small steps of independence.
It means that she can concentrate on her education, making friends and learning independent skills in a natural way. We love it for her, and we love having her here - she is a part of our family and it keeps us young!
The last few months have been quite a challenge for our family with several bereavements, but she has gone out of her way to support us by cooking meals and helping with the housework. She is making great strides towards independent living without even realising it.
The experience with Essex County Council has been extremely positive. Right from the beginning they’ve always been available for us, supported us and encouraged us.
I very much credit the training and support on offer with giving me the right tools to confidently care for the young woman we have placed with us. In particular, the trauma informed therapeutic training.
It’s helped me to understand why this young person can often forget to do small tasks and enabled us to identify better ways of working together. Daily text reminders seem to be working well! I’m much more empathetic to her situation, which has really improved our relationship.
It’s great that I have transferable skills from my job and I can also draw from my own parenting experiences but the training and support has been invaluable
For anyone considering providing supported lodgings, I’d say that if you have a spare bedroom and some extra love to give, then you can do it! The difference you can make to a young person is beyond words.