A safe haven for young people in housing need

1st February 2017

A charity in Whitehaven that supports local young people in housing need received £11,000 from Shepley Group Grants and the NMP Community Fund.

The Whitehaven Foyer was created from a partnership between Impact Housing and the Howgill Family Centre. The two organisations joined together to buy the old YMCA building in Whitehaven and re-develop it into supported housing for vulnerable young people aged between 16 and 24 who have faced barriers in their lives.

As well as offering a safe place to stay, the Whitehaven Foyer also provides young people with the support they need to make a successful transition into independent living and adulthood. Young people meet regularly with experienced staff who help them to re-connect with learning, increase their employability and improve their health and wellbeing. The charity works closely with local employers to provide valuable work experience for young people.

Many of the young people who are referred to the Foyer have been homeless, are lacking in life skills and have left school with few qualifications. They may have been affected by violence or abuse in the home. Some are leavers from the care system, who have nowhere else to go. At the Foyer, they will have safe, supported accommodation for up to two years before moving on to independent living.

The young people often arrive at the Foyer with very little in personal possessions and have no financial means to furnish a property. The funding was used to provide basic furniture for the young people.

Louise Gray, Young People and Services Manager at the Whitehaven Foyer said: “The grant has enabled the Whitehaven Foyer to provide a comfortable, good quality living environment to local young people in housing need. The furniture has contributed to the feeling of self-worth that the tenants have.

“These young people have been really disadvantaged in life and we want to enable them to live positive, independent lives. By providing training and support in life skills, employability and health, we can give them the right attitude to move on and progress in life.”