A supported housing scheme provided by Thirteen in Middlesbrough that’s helped over 150 families has marked its 25th anniversary with a special celebration.

The scheme on Penrith Road provides accommodation and support for families who are homeless in Middlesbrough, with two and three-bedroom flats and access to a communal area, laundry facilities and an outside play area. This year alone, 24 families have been supported.

Deputy Mayor of Middlesbrough, Antony High, joined commissioners, representatives from partner agencies and employees of Thirteen for a tour of the scheme and to meet past and present families to learn more about how the scheme has changed in the last 25 years.

Celebrations also included a tea party for the families currently living at Penrith Road, with entertainment and activities for the children.

Chris Smith, executive director of service delivery and development at Thirteen, said: “We are delighted to be celebrating 25 years of this service. Penrith Road provides a hugely important service to families that for a huge variety of reasons may find they are at a difficult point in their lives.

“We’re not just providing a roof over someone’s head here. We offer families a safe and secure home with a range of wraparound support on a range of issues from money management skills to developing confidence, getting back independence to gaining employment or training to help people move on.”

One resident of Penrith Road, said: “We became homeless in February when our rent got stopped because of the benefit cap.

“We came into Penrith Road and it’s helped us to get back on our feet and, in the new year, we should be able to move on.

“They’ve helped with courses like money management and the employability team have been to give us support.

“The Thirteen staff are here to help, whenever you need it.”

The service provided helps residents to move on to full independence, giving them the skills to successfully manage their future permanent tenancy, and support is offered for up to two years.

Emergency accommodation is also available for homeless 16-17 year olds for a maximum stay of four weeks. Staff members are available 24 hours per day.

Services at Penrith Road work closely with social landlords, local authority housing teams and private landlords to offer choice when residents are ready to move on. Support is also offered to help with the move into independent living.

The scheme has just benefited from £600,000 of investment with flats having new kitchens and bathrooms, an electrical re-wire, fire alarm upgrade, fire doors, new floor and decoration throughout.

The communal areas have also been fully refurbished, new windows, doors and flooring fitted throughout, flooring and an electrical re-wire and fire system upgrade and the children’s outdoor play area has also had a complete facelift.