Children 1st West Berkshire
Children 1st West Berkshire
We provide a home for homeless care leavers and vulnerable 16 - 25 year old. We have taken on the rental of a house and can house 4 young people. We also provide mentoring, life skills, support.
The aim of our charity is to help care leavers and vulnerable young people live in a safe place. Which provides the right environment to return to education (if needed). Learn life skills, become part of a mentoring program, volunteer within the community, find work and eventually live independently. Everyone who volunteers for the charity understands the problems of these homeless young people.
We provide the support they need through one to one carers, monthly mentoring, life skill lessons from cooking/shopping to computer skills/CV writing. We support medical needs, and become surrogate parents.
We currently have 60,000 children in care, 62% due to abuse another 10% due to dysfunctional families (including domestic violence, alcohol and drug abuse). 70% are in foster care, 14% residential homes 3% live independently 4% adopted 9% remain with parents. Statistically they will be failed by society, 28% of these children have special educational needs. Only 14% will get 5 good GCSE’s (65% average). They are likely to have 10 or more foster placements, never settling in school.
We cannot change this system, but instead we will take them when they leave care and help them learn to be functioning members of society. Helping them get an education will change their lives for the future. Looked after children are a discriminated group, however no one is fighting for them. When they become 18 years old they are no longer looked after by the state, they are sent out to live independently however without family backing they become isolated. Many turn to drugs and alcohol to alleviate the loneliness. 49% of the prison population was once in care.
The government is aware that it is failing looked after children, but it is doing nothing about the looked after adults that they have already failed. Throwing money at this cause is not sufficient, just giving them a safe place to live will not give these youngsters the life skills they need. Each community needs to have a house in their village and give their time willingly to help these youngsters become part of the community around them.
It costs approximately £20,000 to open a house, this cost covers furniture, bills, legal advice, time when the room is empty, rent etc. Once the house is fully occupied the cost of the rent is covered by the housing benefit. We have a live in carer, who keeps the peace and sets an example.
We would like to open a new house every year, the set up costs are approximately £20,000. We need to furnish, pay deposits, rent and legal fees. Allow funds for times when the rooms are empty etc, and have a reserve fund. We currently have our first house up and running servicing the village of Thatcham, and surrounding areas with room for 3 tenants. We would like to expand to other areas of Berkshire. We can combine the mentoring and support net work for the two house, but obviously help more young people.
We are constantly fund raising; we are the named charity of the year for AWE in Aldermaston. Patsy Stone the founder of the charity has been short listed for the Mail on Sunday woman of the year. If she wins we will gain £30,000. The more funds we raise the more young people we can help.
The success of our project is dependent on the young people we have in the house and how they utilize the support we give them. Many of the young people coming out of care are very damaged and will take years of support. However two of our tenants have completed college courses, they are volunteering at the local wild life reserve, and one is starting a full time job in June. We cannot change the system but we hope to provide some of the life skills for those who want to change their future.
The success of our project will be when the youngsters living in the house move on to their own homes. We are hoping that they will chose to be a carer in a new house and offer the support they received to a new generation of young people coming into the Cornerstone house.
We interview all prospective tenants and discuss what we expect from them. We are not landlords, we want the youngsters to succeed so they need to want the same thing. We promote equal opportunities, everyone is welcome.
Children 1st West Berkshire aims to:
- To give homeless young people a safe place to live.
- To help them find work and eventually live independently
- To help get homeless young people back into education.
- To help our tenants become part of the community through voluntary work
- To help our young people learn the life skills they need to live independently.
Established: November 2008
Registered Charity Number: 1126749
Board members: 10
Phone number: 07833787283
Address: The slater centre, Buckner Croke Way, New Greenham Park, Thatcham RG19 6HNView charity accounts on the Charity Commission website