Hi, I’m Jodie and I manage a scheme that supports vulnerable, homeless young people into Supported Lodgings, which can be complex though extremely rewarding. The role requires being responsive to service users needs – both expressed and implicit. This is imperative to best support the young people through transitions towards independence, but also to recruit and maintain the hosts who are offering placements.
This involves being honest, open and available to service users. This enables relationships to build based on trust. Being available to service users creates safety, for both the young person and hosts whilst in placement. Imagine initially moving in with someone you barely know - it must be daunting to say the least! But by being responsive to the service users’ needs, ensures that placements run more smoothly, so service users feel valued and respected.
Placements are carefully considered in relation to the needs of both the young people and hosts. Where possible we will best match the placement and give both parties the opportunity to express their wants and needs throughout the process.
We complete Support Plans as soon as a young person moves in with a new host. The young person completes a self-assessment with us about different aspects of their lives and the level of support they feel they require. We are then able to plan actions between the agencies involved and ourselves. This is reviewed within a month of placement and at regular intervals throughout the placement. However, should any circumstances change or issues arise, we will call a review and amend Support Plans where necessary to meet support needs.
Being flexible is key to service delivery. Plans to help manage needs are useful but sometimes young people face situations which need supportive and practical responses. Examples include their emotional and practical needs, medical emergencies, and travelling arrangements to see family members. Support also includes meeting their urgent accommodation needs.
We challenge ourselves to adapt to the environment we enter when we work with young people and their hosts in order to best serve them. We offer support with the aim that they can aspire, achieve and lead more productive lives, within which they are able to contribute to society.
It is a privilege to be able to enable and support this process for the young people of Bedfordshire, in the name of the YMCA.