A community-minded role model is urging Wigan residents to offer their homes and life experiences to young people so they can learn the skills needed to live independently.
Roy Lowe is a supported lodgings host with Wigan Council and is currently helping a local teenager to cook, make appointments and enrol into college, giving him the confidence to live on his own.
Roy said: “I’ve always helped people out as much as possible, so when I heard about supported lodgings, it was natural for me to want to help young people too.
“I want to send them in the right direction. A lot of the time, they’re withdrawn and don’t know how to do the laundry or clean, so I do my best to teach them these things so they’re ready for adulthood.
“When I was first paired with my current young person, he wouldn’t interact with people or even go on a bus because of anxiety but over time, he has come out of his shell and now he’s more confident.
“Being a host is about understanding what the young person needs and what they’re comfortable with – everyone is different, but the outcome is really rewarding.”
The supported lodgings scheme pairs a person aged 16-25 who is unable to live with his or her family with an approved ‘host’ in the borough.
The host is a responsible adult or family who will help the young person to prepare for their future by developing their skills and helping them to make decisions.
Currently, Wigan Borough has a lower number of hosts than other neighbouring areas so the council is encouraging more people with a spare bedroom to think about joining the team so even more young people can be supported.
Councillor Jenny Bullen, cabinet member of children and families at the council said: “Ensuring our children in care are paired with welcoming and loving foster families is a key priority for us but we also understand that these children reach an age when they need to become more independent.
“Supported Lodgings is a fantastic way to help a young person develop their practical skills and is also an opportunity for someone who feels more equipped to support a young adult rather than a child of school age.
“A willingness to offer emotional and practical support is the main criteria. Our teams will be on hand to answer any questions or concerns and will visit regularly to see how you and the young person are getting on.”
Supported Lodgings placements can be up to two years and the host will be paid a weekly fee for their expertise.
Hosts are also paired with a scheme coordinator who understands the needs of each young person to ensure a successful pairing.
For more information, visit www.wigan.gov.uk and search supported lodgings