Midlothian Council celebrates first birthday of project for care-experienced young people
On the first anniversary of a ground-breaking Midlothian Council project, nine care-experienced young people are being supported to live independent, fulfilled lives.
Eight of the young people are settled in their own rented homes while one of the boys, in temporary accommodation to see if he liked it, is expected to take on a permanent tenancy soon.
All nine of the young people in the Midlothian House Project are taking part in a 12 module learning programme covering, among other subjects, budgeting, maintaining a home and being a responsible citizen.
Councillor Jim Muirhead, Midlothian Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for children’s services, said: “Working with the charities, Life Changes Trust and The National House Project, our Children’s Services team is already changing lives for the better.
“Hearing that all of the nine young people are getting so much out of taking part is certainly cause for celebration on the project’s first birthday.”
The House Project is a social enterprise built with young people leaving care, providing sustainable homes and a community of support that enables young people to have confidence in themselves and their future.
As part of the initial three-year project, three groups of up to 10 young people will be supported into a long term home and given help with skills such as maintaining a home and being a responsible citizen.
They are also helped into what’s known as a positive destination, such as further education or a job.
One of the young people in the first cohorts is Nikita Crombie who is now settled in a cottage in Newtongrange. She said: “It’s absolutely beautiful. I’m over the moon.”
Nikita says the young people have set up a WhatsApp group where they all help each other with everything from decorating tips to recipe ideas. Other highlights include getting a new laptop and access to wifi through Connect Scotland.
The council has provided the majority of the homes but is now also working with other providers such as local housing associations including Melville, Castle Rock Edinvar (now Places for People Scotland) and Dunedin Canmore.
Mark Warr, the CEO of The National House Project, added: “It has been a pleasure to work with Midlothian and a privilege to see the difference that John, Kim and Jen are making to the lives of young people as they move in to their new homes. The project has benefitted from the huge support from colleagues in housing, social care and the connections to local services. We heard from Nikita at our conference in Manchester on Friday and Midlothian should be rightly proud of her and her peers on the project.”