Midlothian House Project Update
Posted 10th June 2021
Seven months after Midlothian Children’s Services team launched a ground-breaking project to support care-experienced young people to live independent, fulfilled lives, eight of the nine young people taking part are settled in permanent accommodation.
A bright future
Among them is 17-year-old Amber McLay, pictured. Amber moved into her flat a month ago.
Amber, who is studying for a hair and beauty qualification at Edinburgh College, says living on her own “was a bit scary at first” because she was used to the noise of the residential unit she was in previously.
Making a home
“But I’m settled in now,” says Amber, who had a major say in the location. Amber also got to choose the carpets, flooring and furniture. Giving the young people choice is an important element of the project as it empowers them to be independent.
Midlothian Children’s Services team is working with the charities, Life Changes Trust and The National House Project, and will eventually help 30 young people, like Amber, aged between 16 and 26 over the next three years.
The House Project has already enjoyed considerable success down south.
A big step
Project lead John Brown said: “It’s a big step for any young person to move into their first home but it can be particularly daunting for young people who have been in care as many have already experienced trauma in their lives.
“It’s vital they have a good support network of professionals and other young people in the project. They are completing modules to learn new skills like budgeting, cooking and maintaining a home to help them sustain their tenancy and there’s regular group Zoom calls with everyone to share experiences and help.”
Help with jobs and training
The young people, who will also be helped into what’s known as a positive destination, such as further education or a job.
Thanks to partners
John added: “We’re so proud of the young people and you can see their confidence growing. Many thanks to our housing services team, Melville and Castlerock housing associations and stakeholders including community organisations, police and Skills Development Scotland .”
Amber, who estimates without the House Project it may have taken her two years or more to become eligible for a council home, says she likes having her own space and is looking forward to pursuing a career in hair and beauty.
“I’ve got lots of support around me,” she says.