Lord-Lieutenant Mr John Crabtree OBE, of the West Midlands, visited YMCA Black Country Group along with Ian Austin MP, to find out more about the Supported Lodgings and Emergency Accommodation Service, YMCA Open Door.
Since 2009, YMCA Open door provides housing to young people aged 16-25 in the homes of trained and approved volunteer Hosts, across the Black Country.
During the visit, the Lord-Lieutenant spent time speaking to the staff, co-ordinators and service users to discuss YMCA Open Door and reflected on how the project has impacted the lives of young people throughout the Black Country.
Whilst young people are in the placement, they are supported by their Host and Project Worker to gain the skills they need to live independently. The relationship built between the Hosts and young people can be life-changing, with many going on to form life-lasting bonds and support networks.
Lord-Lieutenant Mr John Crabtree OBE said: “I had a very enjoyable visit to YMCA in West Bromwich (recently) but more to the point, I learned so much about the tremendous work they are undertaking. I heard first-hand from a young person in Supported Lodgings how YMCA’s support had made such an extraordinary contribution to their general wellbeing but also provided a real sense of purpose and direction in their lives. It was a truly heart-warming morning and I came away determined to find ways of helping the organisation to expand and develop their work – so critical at a time of continuing challenges to Local Authority budgets”.
Sally Cowan, Chief Housing Officer said: “Supported Lodgings achieves amazing results for the young people that access support whilst also harnessing the capabilities of the community. It provides an alternative to Supported Housing and is a cost-effective solution to meeting the needs of vulnerable young people.”