Department for Education continues to support The National House Project with further funding for young people in care during this critical time.
On the 24 April 2020 the Department for Education (DfE) announced its multi-million-pound support for vulnerable children during COVID-19. The DfE has promised more than £12 million will be spent to enable 14 innovation projects to continue to support children, young people and families. This comes at a time when their vulnerability is heightened by the current pandemic. The funding builds on the Government’s work to support schools, social workers, local authorities and charities with their vital work. The National House Project (NHP) are thrilled to announce that they are one of these projects.
The National House Project is a registered Charity that provides expertise and support to local authorities to enable them to develop their own Local House Project. The charity’s vision is to help young people leaving care to create their own home and support those young people to live independently and have fulfilling lives. From the first six Local House Projects it has become clear that the outcomes for those young people, that are part of the House Project, have benefitted enormously with 64 young people living independently.
Part of this substantial amount of funding from the DfE will help support the National House Project in many areas of digital infrastructure, sustainability, quality of the service provided as well as to support the design and rapid roll out of a service that connects all care leavers. These services have never been more important as we continue to support care leavers who may be living on their own.
Each Local House Project is supported by the National House Project through access to resources, membership of the Care Leavers National Movement, enrolment onto the AQA certified House Project Programme for their young people, access to social care, therapeutic and psychological expertise and much more. The funding will not only continue to provide this support to the current Local House Projects but will also support the development of the infrastructure needed to create more Local House Projects across the country and subsequently, providing the opportunity for more young people leaving care to live independent and fulfilling lives.
The funding will also help to develop the Care Leavers National Movement’s digital infrastructure and offer, to the young people in House Projects, a way to stay connected and to be heard nationally. This builds on the Government’s recent announcement that it would secure devices and data connectivity for vulnerable children and young people, including care leavers. The Care Leavers National Movement is made up of representatives from each Local House Project and ensures that a young person’s voice is at the heart of all decision making within the National House Project. Unfortunately, the current pandemic has also highlighted that now more than ever the importance for care leavers to stay connected. There have been huge efforts already by the Care Leavers National Movement to tackle internet poverty within their house projects. On 24 April the National House Project announced that every young person in a House Project across the Country has access to a smart phone and three months’ worth of unlimited data, calls and text messages. This is just the start for the Care Leavers National Movement and an immense milestone in their efforts to help these vulnerable young people. But more still needs to be done.
Even though this is an enormous step forward, there are many young people being isolated who are unable to access vital information and support or connect with their peers in this uncertain time. The funding will provide a support platform that can be rolled out to all Local Authorities, accessible to all their young people in care and care leavers, regardless of whether they are part of a Local House Project. A Local Authority will be able to upload and share advice and engage with their care leavers as well as provide a virtual space for mentoring and a messenger function. The funding will also provide first year membership; a significant investment in enabling Local Authorities to connect with their children in care and young care leavers, during a pandemic. It would also form part of their Care Leaver Offer.
David Brookes, Chair of the National House Project said “On behalf of the Trustees and the whole NHP Team we are extremely grateful that the DfE are able to award us with such a substantial amount of funding to continue to support our young people. This vital funding will help develop new ways of working during this uncertain and critical time and provide the necessary infrastructure needed to provide the important support and connection with these vulnerable young people even after this pandemic. The money will also support these young people’s mental health and provide practical and emotional help through developing virtual networks. We all need to do our bit during these challenging and uncertain times. We are very much still open and continue to support the projects via phone, email and through individual and group Zoom meetings with project staff.”
The National House Project has also recently set up several other ways that we can all help these young people. Through their Just Giving page you can fundraise or donate in order to enable young people, who can often feel very isolated, stay connected.
Also, through Amazon Smile, you can add the National House Project as your chosen Charity and start shopping. Amazon Smile has the same products and prices as the usual Amazon site but with the added benefit that for every purchase made, Amazon donates 0.5% of the net purchase price (excluding VAT, returns and shipping fees) to the charitable organisation of your choice. If you opt to add the National House Project as your charity of choice, it will raise money to directly benefit young people.