An innovative scheme led by social housing charity Home Group and which helps get young people off the streets and into work, is on track for helping hundreds of young people in the North East within its first year of operating.
The three-year long project has an objective of assisting young people aged 18 to 24 years with complex needs, who are homeless and not in education, employment or training is ahead of target as it reaches its first year anniversary. The project is currently supporting over 240 young people. Of these 167 are now in accommodation, 56 have begun a programme of training or education, 27 are engaged in voluntary work and 22 have started employment.
Garry Robinson, Senior Client Services Manager at Home Group and Fair Chance Fund comments: “We work with some of the most vulnerable young people in society who haven’t had the best of start in life for a variety of reasons. The Fair chance Team and other partners associated with the programme have worked extremely hard to find accommodation for these young people in the first instance, then supporting them to maintain their accommodation and then to nurture and develop their potential so that they can move on into training and employment.”
The Fair Chance Fund, which is a collaboration of several organisations across the North East provides accommodation, training, volunteering and employment opportunities for vulnerable young people. It is a national scheme established by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
The North East is one of seven locations in the country which has been selected by the Department for Communities and Local Government to provide intensive support to homeless young people. Home Group is the lead for delivery of the project and partners include; Oasis Aquila, Your Homes Newcastle, Depaul and Changing Lives. The Fair Chance Fund is available in Newcastle, Sunderland, Northumberland, Gateshead, Durham and both North and South Tyneside.
The aim of the programme is to help young homeless people to settle and stay in accommodation over a timeframe, achieve National Vocational Qualification equivalent qualifications, engage in voluntary work and to sustain full or part time work. Support is put in place to suit the young persons’ needs and includes a personalised plan to help them develop the skills to manage their tenancies, budget effectively, make informed choices, live independently and become economically active.
The Fair Chance partnership work with a range of agencies, including social services, social workers, Police, probation workers, the criminal justice sector and voluntary organisations to provide a holistic package of support for young people. This collaboration has seen a reduction in reoffending, improved behaviour and avoidance of custodial sentences in some cases, as long as offenders are engaged with the Fair Chance Fund.
“The collaborative approach is working and not only produces cost efficiencies through innovative and intensive support across a number of support services, but a vulnerable young person is assisted and encouraged in becoming a valued member of society,” adds Garry Robinson.