North Tyneside Council has been awarded £837,000 to launch an innovative new scheme helping children in care take their first steps towards independent living.
The council successfully applied for a share of the Department for Education’s (DfE) £200million children’s social care innovation programme, which backs the development of new approaches.
Known as Staying Close, the scheme will provide a new six-bed home for vulnerable young people (aged 17 to 21) close to their former accommodation, as part of a smoother transition out of care.
The building will be transformed thanks to an additional £150,000 from North Tyneside Council and will offer continuity of care, as well as ongoing practical and emotional support.
The project, which is funded until 2020, aims to provide a stepping stone towards independence and reduce youth homelessness.
Coun Ian Grayson, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “Our great ambition for this project is to give vulnerable young people the chance to experience independent living. We feel this will be a welcome next step for them as there will be continuity of support, familiar faces helping them throughout, and an opportunity for personal development.
“When the time comes for their next step, support will continue in the form of ongoing community outreach so we aren’t simply pushing them out into the big wide world and setting them up to fail, but giving them the opportunity to discover themselves and fulfill their potential.”
The council’s bid was one of 26 successful projects nationwide.