Young care leavers in west Norfolk will benefit from a new housing scheme and package of support that will help them to make the transition from their children’s home to independent adult living with the opening of the first ‘Staying Close, Staying Connected’ home in Kings Lynn. The house was officially opened by Jarone Macklin-Page, age 29 (a Break care leaver and Actor) on Friday 18 May. It will be home to three young care leavers.
Staying Close, Staying Connected is a partnership between regional children’s charity Break, Norfolk County Council and Cambridgeshire County Council. The aim is to change the way young care leavers are supported, by putting a framework around them when they leave their children’s home including housing, peer-to-peer support, mentoring, help with independent living skills and emotional support. Young care leavers have traditionally been some of the most vulnerable young people in society experiencing high levels of homelessness, isolation and mental health issues. ‘Staying Close, Staying Connected’ aims to address these issues and to fulfil the role of an extended family for young care leavers, supporting them for as long as they need.
The project focuses on young people from Cambridgeshire and Norfolk but it is hoped that it will become nationally recognised as best practice in support for young care leavers moving on from residential care.
The scheme has been made possible by a grant of 1.3 million awarded to Break by the Children’s Social Care Innovation Fund which aims to develop more effective ways of supporting vulnerable children, specifically those leaving children’s homes.
The project aims to open 20 houses in the next two years supporting 70 young people across the region.
Rachel Cowdry, Director of Business Development at Break says “This is a landmark moment for this very important project that will transform radically the support for young care leavers. We are really excited to be able to work in partnership with Norfolk County Council and Cambridgeshire County Council to support some of the most vulnerable young people in our communities. Break has already been supporting our own care leavers for six years through our Moving On Team and this builds on the experience we have built up in this area. The need to support young people who have lived in care has been evident for many years. These young adults are much more likely, than their peers, to struggle in all aspects of their lives such as finding and sustaining work, physical and mental health, and building positive relationships.”
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