“I have amazing support from the people I live with and I really feel a part of the household. I also have the freedom to come and go as I please, so I live quite independently. I feel at home here and know I can get support with things like uni applications and advice on things like health and finance” Angel, care leaver, now living in a Supported Lodgings placement in March, Cambridgeshire.

Cambridgeshire County Council this week launches its new-look Supported Lodgings scheme to support care leavers like Angel. If you can provide a young person aged 16+ with a spare room, annexe or similar accommodation in your own home we want to hear from you.

Supported Lodgings carers also offer advice and guidance to help young people prepare for adulthood and independent living. Carers can be single, married, in a civil partnership or living with a partner. We welcome applications from people of all ethnic backgrounds and from people who have their own children, as well as those who haven’t raised children of their own.

This is an opportunity which will be particularly suitable for people in Huntingdonshire who live near colleges providing post 16 education and training. It is also helpful to be near good transport links to allow the young people in placement the ability to travel around the county independently.

Supported Lodgings carers offer less intensive support than other types of foster care. This allows people to be a Supported Lodgings carer whilst working. Carers do, however, need to be able to make time for the young people in their care and show the ability to listen and understand their needs. Carers are also required to offer advice on all aspects of independent living, such as cooking, washing and budgeting. An allowance of £250 per week is paid to carers while they have a young person placed with them.

Cllr Simon Bywater, Chairman of the Children and Young People’s Committee, said: “We are committed to providing high quality care to our Looked after Young People as they reach adulthood. Through the Supported Lodgings scheme there are now even more opportunities for local people to make a real difference in these young people’s lives and we look forward to hearing from anyone who would like to be involved in this vital and rewarding work”.

Lynn and Will Dixon, who live near Huntingdon, have had experience as both foster carers and Supported Lodgings carers over the past five years. Lynn said: “We’ve cared for teenagers who have been through a wide range of experiences and have come from very different backgrounds. We have often found that they have very low self-esteem and a negative view of their futures. It can be difficult, but we work hard to gain their trust and show them that they can have a positive future to look forward to.

“We already have some great memories of our time as carers, particularly when we have been able to give young people in our care the opportunity to experience things many families take for granted. We also often keep in touch with the young people once they leave us and it is wonderful to hear good news stories from them on their progress”.

For more information please contact Cambridgeshire County Council’s Fostering Service on 0800 052 0078 or visit www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/supported-lodgings

Angel, a care leaver, is now living in a Supported Lodgings placement in March, Cambridgeshire.

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