England - The House Project

Target group: Young people transitioning to independence from care

Main goal of the project: To support the transition to independence for care leavers in one local authority in the UK.

Short summary: The House Project is a new way of working in one local authority in England. In 2015 the Department for Education funded a series of innovation projects across the country.

The House Project supports young people in care to make the transition to independence successful. The first of its type in the uk included 10 young people working in a collaborative way with professionals. The process for young people included, identifying, designing and rennovating their future homes.

The core aimes and beliefs of the project are that young people should: • Have their own home and the support of a community for as long as they need it. • Take ownership of decisions affecting their own lives, their property and the development of the business. • Gain independence and the skills to support themselves emotionally and financially through the support they need when they need it. • Take responsibility for keeping themselves safe, looking after others and the project.

In order to achieve these aims the House Project Board includes both profesisonals and young people to ensure that safe decisions are made and the reputation, fidelity and financial stability of the project is protected.

In its pilot phase, young people aged 16+ have managed the design and refurbishment of void properties in Stoke-on-Trent, which will be their homes for as long as they want to stay there.

The second phase from 2017-2020, sees the creation of the ‘House Project Hub’, five new projects will be set up in different local authorities across England. Each project will be separately managed but will work to the House Project aims and beliefs and will share learning to further develop the model.

Against all the key indicators in education, employment, health, offending and accommodation, outcomes for care leavers are identified as unacceptable.

Moving to independence from 16 and living alone from 18 as a care leaver, does not work for many young people, who have described to their loneliness, fear and the feeling that they have been ‘dropped off a cliff.’

The House Project believes that we as a country can and must do better, locally and nationally. The House Project gets to the heart of the issues that lie behind poor outcomes. It provides a structure to help young people manage the challenges of independent living. It gives them the experience of ownership and pride in doing things for themselves that have been missing from their lives. It provides comprehensive support to enable them to be safe and succeed as co-owners and managers of the project.

Useful links (video’s, websites etc.): https://thehouseproject.org/

Contact: Rob Vernon, tel. +44 1782 237054, thehouseproject@stoke.gov.uk

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