Branchout Providers needed!
Branchout Supported Lodgings Scheme was developed in response to an identified need to provide an alternative type of accommodation to both Care Leavers and Vulnerable Young homeless people in Bristol.
These young people have often not had the life experience which would give them the knowledge and skills necessary to cope on their own. By renting a room to a young person and providing support you can help a young person gain these skills that will enable them to manage a tenancy successfully.
Branchout will offer the period of stability necessary for young people to acquire the right skills, build support networks in their local community and experiment safely with increasing freedom and changing status while still having involvement with, and support from an interested adult.
How does it work?
Branchout Providers rent a room in their home to a young person and give them the support, encouragement and guidance to develop the practical skills and confidence to manage a tenancy and live a successful adult life. The young person renting the room becomes part of the household and shares the facilities.
Providers work in partnership with the young person, a support worker and the Branchout Coordinator to provide a programme of support that meets the young person’s individual needs. Some will need help with practical tasks such as cooking, budgeting or shopping economically. Others will need more emotional support. Many will need both. The idea is that the young person gradually takes on more responsibility for looking after themselves until they reach the point where they feel confident about their ability to manage tasks on their own. Each lodging placement will be subject to a written license agreement between the Provider, the Lodger and the Support Worker, which includes the rights, responsibilities and expectations of all parties.
Providers do not have parental responsibility for, or charge and control of the young person. However, the Provider is expected to take an interest in the young person's welfare and progress, reporting any concerns to the young person's support worker or Branchout Coordinator.
How long will the young person stay?
This will vary according to the needs and abilities of each young person and on an assessment of their readiness to move on to more independent accommodation. For some this may be a few months, while others will require support for longer. The maximum period a young person can stay with a Branchout Provider is two years. (Branchout Lodgings are not intended as permanent accommodation.) It should form part of a planned route for a young person toward independent living. We aim to ensure that moving on from Branchout is a positive and planned process.
Who can be a Provider?
We need people from all walks of life and from all kinds of cultural and ethnic backgrounds to become Providers. After all, the young people also come from diverse backgrounds and it is important that this is reflected in the lodgings that are available. As a Provider you could be:
A home owner or rent your house
- Parents or Grandparents
- From any racial, cultural or ethnic background
- Single – male or female, aged over 21
- Couples of the same or different sex
- In full time, part time work or retired
- Running a household
- A person with disabilities
- A spare room
- An understanding and respect for young people
- An ability to interact with young people fairly, honestly, openly and objectively
- A calm, relaxed and friendly attitude
- A good sense of humour
- An ability to work with Social Workers/ Personal Advisors as part of a team
- To be able to keep information concerning a young person confidential
- To believe in equalities of opportunity, regardless of difference
- To be committed to ongoing training and development provided by the Department
If you think this could be you, we would love to hear from you.
Why become a Provider?
Supporting young people in this way is an exciting and rewarding experience in itself, but we will, of course, pay you for your services. In return for providing accommodation and support to a young person, you will receive an allowance to cover rent and support. Depending on the young person’s age and circumstances this could include Local Housing Allowance from the benefits agency and a contribution from the young person to help with their budgeting skills.
Training and Support
In addition to a financial package, you will also be given regular training and support to help you learn about and deal with some of the issues facing young people leaving care or faced with homelessness.
Branchout recognises that training and support must be made available to Providers if they are to fulfil their role.
Being a Provider may be challenging at times. While you may have the support of family and friends, it is important to have access to professional support, too. The Branchout Coordinator is responsible for supporting Providers and will be able to help you to identify and address your support and training needs. The Coordinator will meet with you on a bi-monthly basis when a young person is resident with you.
If you are interested in becoming a Branchout Lodgings Provider, please contact the Branchout Coordinator to arrange your first home visit. firstname.lastname@example.org