Could you be a valued Supported Lodgings Carer?
Published: 22 Aug 2018
Hertfordshire County Council is looking for caring people who can provide a supportive home environment for a young person aged 16+ in care.
The rewarding role of Supported Lodgings Carer helps teenagers over the age of 16 to develop key life skills such as budgeting, shopping and cooking, as well as offering emotional support and welcoming, safe accommodation for short- or longer-term stays.
This countywide service currently helps 34 young people in the homes of 30 carers, as a stepping stone to helping them prepare for living independently. Young people can remain with their carers until the age of 21 to gain the practical skills they will need and have time to develop emotionally. They move to Supported Lodgings from a variety of settings such as children’s homes, foster care or from placements outside the county and are all in education, training or employment.
East Hertfordshire currently has just six Supported Lodgings Carers, based in Cheshunt, Borehamwood and Enfield.
Cllr Teresa Heritage, Cabinet member for Children, Young People and Families, said: “Hertfordshire County Council believes that every child should have the greatest chance at building the best possible future for themselves and the Supported Lodgings Scheme is successful at doing just that.
“Our carers are doing a fantastic job in providing support and guidance, making this an effective step in readying youngsters for independent living. If you have a spare room, live in a town centre location close to public transport and would like to give support to a young person, this is a very worthwhile vocation. Carers can be from any ethnic background, be male or female, younger or older and working or not.”
Case study 1
Jennie Gibbs from Watford has been a Supported Living Carer for almost four years, with young lodgers staying for short and long term periods, depending on need. She said: “After I retired, I didn’t want to stop work entirely and looked into fostering older children.
“I didn’t have any preconceived ideas about what it would be like and as each person is different I change my approach accordingly. I enjoy being there to offer help and we might do practise job interviews, learn how to shop inexpensively or cover basic cooking skills so that they are one step ahead.”
She added: “You have to enjoy the company of young people and be prepared for a challenge - it’s important to be flexible and open-minded, too. As a carer, you also have the opportunity to meet new people through the training and social events.”
Case study 2
Christabel Cofie from Stevenage has been a Supported Living Carer for four years, and has helped young lodgers move through sixth form and on to university. She said: “The training and assessment for being a supported Living Carer is very in-depth with plenty of opportunity to explore all aspects of the role.
“All the children have individual needs and it gives me a lot of satisfaction to see them grow and mature and do something with their lives.
“I am still in contact with two of the three girls who have lived with me so I know what they are doing now. One of them, I helped to find a university place – she would not have gone if I had not been there to support her. Another came back from university to live with me last summer.
“It’s not all plain sailing but if you can give people a happy and safe environment that they can come back to, show them trust and respect and build a good relationship, they will trust you and open up to you. At the time, they may not see the impact of this but later they do appreciate it.”
For further information visit hertfordshire.gov.uk/fostering