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A stepping stone to independence…

Campaigns, Foster Carers, Types of Care, Uncategorized,

Foster carer chatting with young people over a cup of tea

Supported Lodgings is an arrangement whereby a young person aged 18-24 – in need of emotional support, encouragement and a safe, secure place to live – shares your home.

 

This could be a someone who is finding living alone challenging or a little overwhelming, is unable to remain with family, is in need of somewhere more stable to live, is a young asylum seeker, or is a care leaver who requires a place to stay as a stepping stone to adulthood.

 

Kate Jellicoe, a Supported Lodgings carer with husband Paul since 2011, enjoys the opportunity to really get to know the young people that come into their lives, “I think the best things are knowing you’re making a difference, as well as having a young person about the house, being around their energy and seeing them develop into what they can become.”

 

Although similar to fostering, this life changing scheme differs in that the young people have a degree of independence and can usually make their own way to college, training or employment. This can allow for work commitments and offer a more flexible, yet equally rewarding, way of supporting vulnerable young people in the Portsmouth area who need support to learn to live independently.

 

Kate, who continues to work as a software developer, shared: “My husband and I were working full-time, making full-time fostering difficult. We saw Supported Lodgings as a way to still support young people who needed help, whilst leaving us enough time to continue our careers.”

 

As a Supported Lodgings carer, you’ll help with young people’s transition from home or being in care to living independently. You’d help them build confidence and assist with the development of everyday practical skills to prepare them for adult life including applying for work, training or education, accessing benefits and attending appointments, budgeting and building a support network.

 

You’ll help them learn how to complete simple household tasks such as cleaning, washing and healthy cooking, and in time you’ll help them find a home of their own. If the young person is an unaccompanied asylum seeker, you’ll also help them complete any immigration paperwork and support them with legal appointments.

 

Kate continued: “They often need help with simple things like teaching them to cook or setting up a bank account, and at times with the more complex stuff, such as alcohol use.”

 

“A typical day might involve making sure the young person is up in time to get to work or college, and responding to typical teen texts during the day of ‘Where is my…?’ or ‘Can I…?’ You need to ensure they eat a decent meal at the end of their working or academic day, preferably with you and your family or perhaps helping them to cook the meal for everyone.”

 

“We have helped a young person to complete their CV on a computer, printed copies and gone into town with them to show how simply looking in shop windows can uncover employment opportunities, and how to ask about jobs in shops where they particularly wanted to work. Usually, once you support them the first couple of times, they are confident enough to continue independently.”

 

When placing each young person, we consider a range of criteria to ensure the best match possible to secure success. These include not only the age and gender of the young person and any children of the Supported Lodgings carer, but also location, ethnicity and religion, as well as additional factors such as pets and transport links. However, the most important consideration is the individual needs of the young person and a foster carer’s skills and experience.

 

When asked what skills people would need to be a Supported Lodgings provider, Kate answered: “Patience, a positive outlook, the ability to be a role model, mentor and empathise without being a pushover. You need to be able to understand the reasons for a young person’s behaviour, to be able to communicate with a wide range of people from their family, friends and college staff, and your relationship with your social worker is key.”

 

Each young person has a social worker who will be available for support, and you’ll receive excellent ongoing training and development, access to 24/7 advice, and competitive fees and allowances to help cover the costs of hosting.

 

Unless they are placed in an emergency, carers meet the young person in advance along with a social worker. This offers an opportunity to agree household rules such as curfews, overnight visitors and shared spaces, and discuss their support needs.

 

Kate added: “Seeing them become successful at work, college or university, and ultimately progress to their own home to live independently is great too. Getting involved with key services to help young people reach their potential, making them feel valued and important, and showing them that you care is honestly, just so rewarding.”

 

“It’s great knowing that you are giving them the skills to be able to hold down a job or get their qualifications, keeping them safe, showing them how a stable family can function without the obstacles of long-term illness or drug issues, leading by example and ultimately how to live independently. My husband and I evaluate it every year, and have always decided to continue.”

 

“Supported lodgings is really enjoyable. We like young people, they have such potential and it’s just fantastic to see them blossom with steady, supportive care.”

 

Our carers come from all walks of life and backgrounds. Anyone aged 18+ with a spare bedroom could foster with Foster Portsmouth regardless of their age, gender, faith, ethnicity, sexuality, marital or work status, or whether they rent or own their own home. Our carers include people who work full-time and those that have retired, those with families of their own and those that are single. The principal quality we look for are people that want to make a difference and the time – a minimum of 10 hours per week – to guide them to independence.

 

If you have some life experience, an appreciation of the issues these young people may come across, have a desire to help them get to grips with the adulthood and reach their potential, enjoying spending time with young people, can provide a welcoming, safe family environment, we’d really like to hear from you.

 

To enquire about Supported Lodgings or fostering with Foster Portsmouth, or to arrange a 1:1 with one of our experienced team or existing Supported Lodgings carers, please fill in our contact form below, call 023 9283 4071 or email fostering@portsmouthcc.gov.uk.

 

Could you be a young person’s inspiration and mentor to help them get off on the right start to a successful independent life?

 

Support a young person. Be a Supported Lodgings carer.

 

    Start your fostering journey