Kris and Dave – TACT Supported Lodgings Carers
We first wanted to care for young people because we felt the desire to help someone who found themselves in the gap between being a looked-after child and a young person living on their own. Since our approval four years ago, we’ve cared for a variety of young people, including young refugees from Syria, Iran and Vietnam. Our profile as carers has changed over the years depending on the local authorities need to make placements and we’ve discovered that supported lodgings placements were a great fit for us as a family. As a supported lodgings carer, you provide a room in your home to a young person which acts as a stepping stone between dependence and full independence. In addition to providing accommodation, you provide practical and emotional support, but you don’t have parental responsibility for the young person.
I’ve always been able to relate to young people, and so I felt we’d be the perfect people to show someone how to budget, cook, clean and cope by themselves, without being too judgmental or too much like a teacher. I think the key with supported lodgings is to show respect to the young person and not treat them like a child – this is someone who’s almost ready to become independent, but just needs that bit of extra support to get there. We spend time together teaching the young people practical things such as budgeting and using the bank properly, how to create schedules for housework or college, and other things which can help them to not get stressed or into trouble.
My favourite thing about being a supported lodgings carer is seeing the young people cope and taking everything that comes at them in their stride. I also love that the young people keep in contact with us once they move on to independence to update us on their progress. Each of the young people that I have cared for are success stories in their own right and their successes are also my successes!
I feel that supported lodgings has helped young people transition into adulthood and build a better life for themselves because they’re gaining the basic skills that many of us take for granted. Learning how to take care of themselves and how to be comfortable and safe in our own company are things which many young people learn with the help of their parents, however for these young people who have had difficult experiences in their early years a supported lodgings placement can make all the difference.
The advice I would give to potential carers in Peterborough who are considering supported lodgings is to speak to current supported lodgings carers and get as much advice as you can. Make sure all rules and agreements between you and the young person are in place so it is clear exactly what you both need and expect from each other – if it’s possible, there may be opportunities to meet the young person before the placement begins to begin to build up that understanding.
I really enjoy my role as a supported lodgings carer and I’m hopeful that my experiences will continue to get better and better. I found the transition from being a Peterborough City Council carer to being with TACT Peterborough a smooth one, and I’m confident that supported lodgings carers will continue to receive a strong level of support in Peterborough. For us, being the people who can offer a home and the support to a young person which can help them move on to independence, all while we watch them grow in confidence, makes what we do all worth it.