People interested in helping young people in care move into independent living have the opportunity to become a supported lodgings host.

Supported lodgings hosts offer young people aged 16 to 21 the opportunity to live in a family environment but one in which they are given more independence. As a host, people will pass on practical skills such as cooking, cleaning and budgeting, which the young person will need when they move out to live on their own. Hosts will also help increase young people’s confidence and self-esteem.

Thirty five year old student social worker, Alex Hill (main image) from Stafford, has been a supported lodgings host for five years, and said: “I always knew that when I got my first property, I would be renting out the spare rooms for company and to help with the bills and then I heard about the Supported Lodgings scheme. I’m so pleased to be a supported lodgings host, it’s brilliant. It’s really rewarding and it doesn’t stop me from working or attending university.  I’ve been a Host for almost 5 years and it has been a real learning curve, I have gained insight into the challenges young people face and I give them advice and guidance where I can.

 “The support from the fostering service is great. There’s always someone I can contact if needed and the training courses really helped. I’ve had lodgers move on to live independent lives, filled with ambitions for the future, which is really rewarding.

 “If you are reading this and thinking of applying, then all you need is the ability to build positive relationships with young people, a spare bedroom and personal time to support them with life skills such as cooking, cleaning, shopping, budgeting and so on. If this feels like you then I would encourage you to apply, as it really does give the young people who are ready to develop their independence, a secure base to launch themselves into adult life.”

Mark Sutton, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People at Staffordshire County Council said: “Our supported lodgings hosts play a vital role in helping young people in care prepare for independent living. Moving out to live on your own can be a daunting experience for any young person, so making sure they are confident and equipped with the skills to do so is key. Passing on vital life lessons like managing finances and household budgeting are all key skills that will make sure young people can make a success of it. If you think you could do what Alex does and be a host, then please get in touch with the team.”

Supported lodgings hosts get ongoing support and access to training from professional staff along with a placement allowance of £180 per week. The young person will also have their own social worker and/or personal advisor. People can find out more about becoming a Supported Lodgings host at fosterforstaffordshire.co.uk/supported-lodgings.aspx , or by calling 0800 169 2061. People can also follow the service on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fosterforstaffs.

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