Empty West Lothian building transformed into affordable homes for young people
Scottish youth homelessness charity Rock Trust has partnered with Almond Housing Association to turn an out-of-use care home in West Lothian into affordable housing for young people in the community at risk of and affected by homelessness.
The semi-derelict building in Livingston has been transformed by Almond into two shared-living homes for young people, alongside a staff facility for the Rock Trust support team. The first residents will move into their new homes this month.
Once they have moved in, a Rock Trust Project Worker will be on hand to engage them with a new ‘Live and Work’ programme, that aims to help them into education, employment or training so they can study or work whilst they benefit from the affordable rents.
Alistair MacDermid, assistant director of services at Rock Trust, said: “We know that there is a significant issue with supply and demand of accommodation in the area which is resulting in large numbers of young people having to stay in unsuitable accommodation for increasingly intolerable periods. We also know that a lack of secure and reliable accommodation is often a barrier to employment. We want to go some way to addressing these issues for local young people.”
Katie Holt, Live and Work project worker, added: “Many of the new residents will be living independently for the first time, so we will also support them to learn skills such as cooking, cleaning, budgeting, anything to help them make a success of their living situation and help them in the future.”
John Davidson, Almond Housing Association CEO, commented: “Almond are proud to have been able to support Rock Trust with the launch of this new scheme. Our respective teams have worked closely together to develop a facility which provides both a great base for Rock Trust’s team, and more importantly a place where their young people can call home.
“Almond are determined to work with local partner agencies to have real and meaningful impact on our communities and this scheme is a great example of doing just that. We look forward to seeing the positive impact of the programme and would like to thank the teams at Rock Trust and Almond for their tremendous work in making this happen.”
The success of this renovation and the future of the programme itself is down to the commitment of multiple funders and the local community. A group of volunteers from M&G plc. spent a day building furniture, painting rooms and sprucing up the gardens ready for move-in date, and Rock Trust are working with West Lothian Council and referral partners to identify young people to live in the property.
Local partners will be crucial to the ongoing programme, as Rock Trust plan to collaborate with education providers, charities and businesses that can provide study and training opportunities, work placements and apprenticeship opportunities.