North Walsham

Could you provide a safe place to live for a homeless young person?

Just Regional
Oct 27, 2014 3 mins read

The Benjamin Foundation invites you to its ‘Heart & Home’ open evening on Thursday 20 November from 5.30-7.30pm at North Walsham Sports Centre.

The Benjamin Foundation is searching for families and individuals in Norfolk who are prepared to open up their homes to a young person aged from 16 years upwards with nowhere to live. Launched in 2010, the charity’s ‘Heart & Home’ service urgently needs more hosts across the county to provide a safe and supportive home for a homeless young person.  The charity is holding an open evening  from 5.30pm until 7.30pm  on Thursday 20 November at North Walsham Sports Centre, where people can find out more.  You can drop in any time to meet staff from The Benjamin Foundation and an existing host will also be on hand to share their experience of looking after a young person in their home.

Heart & Home  provides homeless young people, who are usually  16 or 17 years old and may have been in the care system, with a room of their own for anything from  a couple of nights to a couple of years.  Families and individuals accepted as hosts receive comprehensive support and training from The Benjamin Foundation and play a vital role in helping these young people gain independent life skills and achieve their goals. The host also receives a support payment whilst the young person stays with them.

Quantifying the real number of homeless people in a rural county such as Norfolk is difficult but The Benjamin Foundation estimates that the figure runs into thousands.  The figure takes into account those on housing waiting lists, those living rough and the hundreds more ‘sofa-surfers’; that is people with no permanent home who rely on the hospitality of friends and family. Many young people have to leave the county each year because the shortage of placement opportunities within the county.

“Our Heart and Home service provide a valuable additional way of helping young homeless people,” explains Matt Garrod, Director of Operations (Housing and Homelessness) at The Benjamin Foundation.  “Our hosts give the young person a home environment and the support of a family or individual.  It’s important to say that the expectations of a host are not the same as for foster carers; these young people may only need a few months in a safe and kind home whilst they find independent accommodation or rectify family problems.”

Hosts are expected to provide a base level of support and a stable home environment.  The young person needs his or her own bedroom with access to kitchen, bathroom and living area.  Before being placed with a host every young person is carefully assessed by The Benjamin Foundation and matched to the right host.  The scheme is not designed for young people who require intensive support.

Families and individuals who are accepted as hosts receive comprehensive training in child protection as well as going through The Benjamin Foundation’s own induction course.

If you would like to find out more about The Benjamin Foundation’s Heart & Home service and see how you can get involved, please come along to the open evening on 20 November.  This informal event is taking place at North Walsham Sports Centre, Spencer Avenue, North Walsham from 5.30pm to 7.30pm.

Alternatively visit www.benjaminfoundation.co.uk or call Pip Yaxley on 01692 502154 or 07825 130011for more information.

Heart & Home

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