When 18-year-old Sarah found herself without a permanent place to call home, Barnardo’s Supported Lodgings helped her by introducing her to Laura, who welcomed Sarah into her home to stay.

Sarah said, “I found myself sofa surfing with nowhere permanent to stay after things got really difficult at home. Barnardo’s supported me and introduced me to Laura and her family, who I ended up staying with for a year. She was very open and easy to talk to and really helped me emotionally.

“We would cook for each other and have movie nights. Being there just gave me some much-needed stability. I was still able to visit my family home and this meant I could maintain a relationship with my mum and spend time there. My host Laura and her family really helped me when I was in a difficult place. They made me feel like one of the family and I still have a really close relationship with her and her daughter who was close to my age.

“As time went on, things started improving at home and I needed my mum, so I decided to take the leap and move back in. Since then things have been going well but I still visit my host Laura and her daughter. I will be forever grateful to Barnardo’s and my host family for helping me out when I was facing some really challenging times.”

Children’s charity Barnardo’s are urging Londoners who have a spare room and would like to help a vulnerable young person leaving care to put themselves forward for a new service launching this week.

The new service will help young people make the tricky transition towards independent living in south and east London.

The children’s charity will support dozens of young adults through its new London Supported Lodgings Service, which offers short-term accommodation for young people as they leave care.

Hosts are given weekly payments alongside ongoing support, training and guidance from the Barnardo’s team, so they are well equipped to help vulnerable young people as they make the difficult transition from childhood to independent adult life.

Londoners With a Spare Room Asked to Host a Vulnerable Young Person Leaving Care

Hosts are given weekly payments alongside ongoing support, training and guidance from the Barnardo’s team. Photo: Barnardo’s

The service, based at The Triangle in Coxwell Road, Crystal Palace, supports young people in Southwark, Lambeth, Croydon and Redbridge. Barnardo’s is now looking to recruit hosts who live in each of those boroughs and can offer a safe, supportive and friendly home environment.

Barnardo’s Children’s Service Manager Rajinder Nagra said, “This kind of short-term support can transform the lives of young people, enabling them to look forward to a brighter future. If you have a spare room and would like to help then we’d love to hear from you.”

Barnardo’s supports applicants through the assessment process to make it as quick and straightforward as possible. Initial and ongoing training and guidance are provided on a range of issues such as substance misuse, mental health and child sexual exploitation, where needed.

Londoners With a Spare Room Asked to Host a Vulnerable Young Person Leaving Care

Londoners can help young adults make the tricky transition towards independent living. Photo: Barnardo’s

Laura, a Barnardo’s Supported Lodgings Host, would definitely recommend taking part. She said,

“I loved having Sarah to stay and watching her thrive over time in a safe and stable environment was brilliant. She really opened up to me and we had a great relationship.

“Sarah took my advice on board and it was so lovely to see her journey progress from where she was when she joined us to when she moved back in with her mum. It is something I would urge people to consider if they have the space and time to support a young person – you won’t regret it.”

To find out more contact Niyah Drummonds, Barnardo’s supported lodgings coordinator, on 07730 025 516 or 0208 771 0907 or email londonsupportedlodgings@barnardos.org.uk

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Nisha Kotecha is the Founder of Good News Shared. Having worked and volunteered for charities in the UK for over 10 years, Nisha is on a mission to highlight how amazing charities are.

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