Perth housing and employability project helps young people build their own futures

Perth housing and employability project helps young people build their own futures

(from left) Alison Williams, the council’s director of economy, place and learning; Elaine Ritchie, council strategic lead for housing and communities; James Boyle, Rock Trust properties and facilities co-ordinator; Councillor Sheila McCole, vice convener of housing and social wellbeing at one of the new flats

An innovative housing and employability scheme for young people has delivered brand new social housing for affordable rent in Perth city centre.

Perth and Kinross Council and youth homelessness charity Rock Trust this week unveiled four newly refurbished one-bed flats for young people under EveryYouth’s Future Builders Project.

Future Builders, launched in Perth and Kinross in 2020, is the only project of its kind in Scotland and is aimed at supporting young people who have recently found themselves homeless or who are at risk of homelessness. It provides a tailored package of education and employment support alongside access to affordable tenancies, offering vulnerable tenants a chance to create long-term positive change in their lives.

Young people are given the opportunity to take part in a 12-16-week programme of education and training. Tenants learn to live independently and build up skills relevant to their personal goals and aspirations. They can learn DIY skills for the home, build maths and literacy skills, take first aid training, and develop CV and interview skills. They are also supported to access work experience and apprenticeships.

Since the launch of Future Builders in Perth and Kinross a total of 13 empty flats have been refurbished into welcoming homes for young people, and a range of additional support has been provided for tenants, many of whom are living independently for the first time.

The flats, which were all empty long-term and in need of refurbishment, are leased to Rock Trust by the council at a nominal rent.

One of the tenants who has been supported through the project said: “I’m now working part-time in a shop as well as going to college full-time. Without the opportunity to work with Future Builders I would not be working, and I would have probably dropped out of college, but this support got me through. I’ve been able to build a life for myself since I first started to work with Rock Trust. They supported me to get a job and I know Rock Trust will offer help to me even though I am now living in my own flat.”

Perth and Kinross Council’s convener of Housing and Social Wellbeing, Councillor Tom McEwan, said: “The Future Builders scheme provides vital support to young people as they start out in life. It helps build their skills and confidence and sets them up for a successful tenancy and a successful life. We are determined that young people who need this kind of assistance do not end up slipping through the cracks, which could see them facing homelessness. I am delighted that we have been able to support Rock Trust to deliver this excellent project here in Perth and Kinross, and we will do all we can to support it into the future.”

Kate Polson, chief executive of Rock Trust, added: “We are in a housing crisis which makes securing affordable housing incredibly difficult and young people are doubly disadvantaged as they are more likely to have low wages and no savings or references. Bringing empty properties back into use and letting them at a subsidised rate enables young people to have good quality affordable homes so that they can complete their education and take their first steps into employment.

“We’re proud to be growing Rock Trust’s various services in the area, with Future Builders restoring more empty flats and our other local services Youth Boost and Upstream also supporting more local Young People in Perth. We are very grateful to Perth and Kinross Council, as well as the continuing support of EveryYouth and The Gannochy Trust, for their commitment to the young people in the local community.”

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