During the COVID-19 lockdown, there have been some lovely accounts from our Supported Lodgings Hosts explaining how through opening up their homes, they have been making the difference in the lives of young people.
One couple who are making a huge difference are Clare and Graham who are Supported Lodgings Hosts in Withymoor, Dudley. YMCA has around 80 Host Families across the Black Country who like Clare, use their spare room to help prevent young people from becoming homeless. Here is her story:
Jordan has been living with us since early April. We love having Jordan here as she has fitted in so well. We have enjoyed that she is determined, knows what she likes (and doesn’t like), is not afraid to voice her thoughts, she shares our love of animals, and she is capable and willing to try new things. Most of all we both love her sense of humour.
It’s been hard during the lockdown, Jordan desperately wanted to see her family and friends, her college was closed and she was furloughed from her part time job. I won’t say it’s been easy because it hasn’t. At times we have doubted ourselves and our ability to support her enough. We have tried to do lots of things to pass time and head off boredom. This has included; teaching her how to make pastry, she has learnt to use the sewing machine, decorated and refurbished her room, helped to plant seeds and grow tomatoes – she now has her own tomato plant called Hamish!
We have been on walks to places on our doorstop we didn’t know existed. She visits our elderly neighbour and takes her dog for a walk. She borrows tools from Graham to fix things. She loves the hot tub in the evening – so much so we have hardly got a look in (or even a toe in!) since March. And for the first time in her life has started to get a tan – not easy for a red haired, fair skinned young lady. We also have another young person living with us and the two together make the house very noisy and alive!
The most rewarding thing about being a host is watching the progress of the young person who will often display challenging behaviour at the start. However, we’ve loved watching them develop into a confident and capable individuals. We have been involved with one young person who now excels at her new job and responsibilities, her colleagues think highly of her, she is studying to gain additional qualifications and is seeking promotion in her job. Seeing her become a loving, well-mannered and caring young person has been rewarding and well worth the work whilst putting up with the tantrums and tears to overcome the issues that held her back.
How have we benefited? – We have learnt new things, discovered new places and developed as a family. We have a greater understanding of the difficulties some families can face; and as a result, we have both gained a greater empathy and understanding of the different and diverse nature of families.