Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 11.49.49An innovative fund that supports young people and has brought together several organisations across the North East is proving to be a huge success.

The Fair Chance Fund focuses on providing accommodation, training and employment opportunities for vulnerable young people.

The contract for the North East was won by social housing organisation Home Group, which has so far succeeded in supporting 160 homeless youngsters.

The contract sees a new collaborative way of working in the North East, with seven local authorities and venture capital firm Northstar Ventures working alongside social housing and care and support organisation, Home Group.

Local housing providers DePaul, Oasis Aquila and Your Homes Newcastle are also partnering with the charity to deliver services across the region. The contract was secured by establishing a Social Impact Bond, which has allowed Home Group to undertake the ‘payment by results’ contract.

The Fair Chance Fund is a national scheme established by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). Over the course of three years it will see 240 vulnerable and homeless young people supported across Northumberland, Tyneside, Wearside and County Durham.

Neil Munslow, service manager at The Active Inclusion Newcastle Unit which provides housing related support, and information and advice to prevent homelessness, said:

“Home Group have successfully developed a partnership approach to provide innovative and intensive support to help young homeless people to get their lives back on track.

“They have developed an effective way of working that helps to create a pathway out of homelessness by aligning housing and employment solutions.  This way of working increase the chances of long term sustainability for the young person.”

This is the first time Home Group has used a Social Impact Bond model to help finance a payment by results programme.

The project works in partnership with Northstar Ventures which has made an investment of £500,000 to finance the scheme, worth £2 million on completion, over the next 3 years.

Through personalised support, the Fair Chance Fund programme will deliver skills in tenancy management and budgeting to reduce the risk of homelessness.

It will also support young people to engage in education and training, achieve qualifications and work experience to find suitable employment.

Les Woodward, head of client services at Home Group, said the organisation is delighted to be part of this innovative DCLG pilot.

“This is a first for Home Group as well as the North East, and we’re delighted with the success achieved so far in getting 160 young people onto the Fair Chance Fund programme.

“We are working closely with other partners in the sector to deliver vital services and show how we can support young people through collaboration.

“This innovative approach has opened up new learning and personal development opportunities for some of the most vulnerable in our society.

“We have also developed a great relationship with Northstar Ventures and look forward to working with them over the next few years as we continue to deliver the Fair Chance Fund.”

Fund manager Peter Gilson at Northstar Ventures said: “We have been working closely with Home Group over the last few months to put together a social impact bond that enabled them to secure the Fair Chance Fund contract for the North East.

“Not only is this one of the first social impact bonds to be established successfully in the region, but Home Group has also been influential in forming strong partnerships with several other service providers.

“This inclusive way of working was vital for winning the DCLG contract and means that young people affected by homelessness now have even more specialised support available to them.”

The social impact bond was invested from the North East Social Investment Fund (NESIF). As the first of its kind in the region, NESIF was established by the North East Social Investment Company (NESIC) with the aim of providing an innovative regional solution to developing the market for social investment and to reduce disadvantage, deprivation and social need in North East communities.

Peter continues: “The work Home Group is doing with vulnerable young people across the North East perfectly matches NESIF’s objectives of reducing disadvantage and homelessness.

“We hope that this is the first of many successful ‘payment by results’ contracts to benefit our region that we can support through social investment.”