At Britwell, a housing estate to the north west of Slough, we have a private house that Slough YMCA converted into a 10 bedroom looked after children project for children, boys and girls, aged 16 and 17 who are leaving care or are unaccompanied minors. Previously used by a local charity as a care home, the building was unoccupied and derelict for three years, until YMCA undertook an initial extensive refurbishment with support from the Homes and Communities agency.
Slough YMCA, and SEGRO plc, owners of the Slough Trading Estate, have worked together with LandAid to extend and furnish three additional rooms.
The environment is that of a family home. Each resident has their own room (containing a small fridge) and there are shared kitchen, toilet and shower facilities. The young people stay for up to two years, after which they will be offered local YMCA “move on” accommodation for 18 – 25 year olds.
Every resident is allocated a support worker who will be there to help with any problems or concerns, or just be someone to chat to if anyone is having a bad day. The support worker will also hold regular meetings to discuss support needs and will create a tailor made Support Plan. In addition, there is an in house counselling service and a member of staff at the house 24 hours a day.
Residents cook their own meals and are encouraged to use the communal lounge. Residents are regularly invited to “house events” and are encouraged to come up with ideas for future events.