Young care leavers celebrate graduation from House Project
Young people in Wolverhampton have celebrated graduating from The House Project, a ground-breaking scheme designed to help care leavers move into their own home and forge an independent life.
The success of the City of Wolverhampton Council-backed project was marked with a special event held at Grand Station. It celebrated the ‘graduation’ of care leavers from the project and into independent living, and thanked external partners who have worked with council staff and young people to deliver the Wolverhampton House Project over the last few years.
Alison Hinds, the council’s Deputy Director of Social Care, said: “Living alone for the first time is daunting for any of us, but particularly so for a care leaver who will do this at a much earlier age than most young people and who would not have the support of family members, either.
“As a result, some young people stay in care for longer than they either need or want to.
"The House Project has been a fantastic programme, allowing these young people to move into their own home while getting support to develop the practical and emotional skills that they need to live independently and to make their house a home.
“Many of our young people have overcome several obstacles along the way – with the toughest challenge of all of course being the coronavirus pandemic.
“However, through all this they have remained committed and focused to achieve their end goal and are now excited to start the next journey in their lives. I wish them the best of luck in their new homes.”
She added: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our partners who without their help and support, the project would not have been the huge success that it has been for young care leavers.”
The Wolverhampton House Project, a partnership between the council, The National House Project, Wolverhampton Homes and commercial partner Reconomy, was designed to help care leavers through one of the most difficult periods in their lives and to give them the skills and confidence to build a life for themselves after leaving care.
Launched in 2019, it has seen care leavers given an empty Wolverhampton Homes property which they could refurbish and then move into. Working with each other and specialists, they developed the skills needed to make any improvements required.
Many are now living in their own flats or other accommodation that suits their needs, and have developed the confidence to get jobs or continue with their education.
Care leaver Shawna said: “The House Project has been so helpful for me; it has built my self-confidence so much and has helped me make some new friends.”
Fellow care leaver Triniti said: “The House Project has helped in more ways than one. It taught me how to be an adult and look after myself, and to know when to ask for help before I hit rock bottom.
“The House Project gave me so much confidence to become a better version of myself and with the support I got from the facilitators, I could do anything I wanted to achieve.
“I am now a representative for the Care Leavers National Movement (CLNM) and have recently been elected vice chair for both CLNM and the Care Leavers Independent Collective (CLIC).
To find out more about The House Project, please visit https://wolverhampton.thehouseproject.org/