BARNARDO’S Scotland is working on the construction of starter homes in Stirling, aimed at those leaving the care system.
Work has begun on the housing scheme, designed to support young people at risk of homelessness.
They will build five “gap homes”, which are purpose-built houses for young people leaving the care system.
A gap home provides high quality, affordable and additional housing for care-experienced young people.
The project can also support other groups of young people who are not defined as care leavers.
The gap homes scheme was developed by Barnardo’s in response to the fact that young people who have been in care have a 50/50 chance of becoming homeless.
This is exacerbated by a lack of suitable accommodation for young people preparing to live independently.
Stirling is just one of numerous sites across the UK where Barnardo’s intends to construct Gap Homes, and there are already Gap Homes in Paisley and one down south in Essex.
Barnardo’s Scotland supports children, young people and their families in more than 125 specialised community-based services across the country.
This Gap Homes project in Stirling could only be made possible by the support of other organisations including the People’s Postcode Lottery and Saint-Gobain.
Players of People’s Postcode Lottery have raised millions of pounds for Barnardo’s since 2018, and funding from this partnership has helped to build these, and many other, Gap Homes.
The partnership with Saint-Gobain was launched in March 2017 with aspirations of using their expertise in the sustainable habitat and construction materials markets to support the Gap Homes programme.
Saint-Gobain’s main aim from this partnership is to provide better living spaces which fits with the Gap Homes model perfectly.
Barnardo’s worked with Saint-Gobain to launch the Gap Homes initiative – utilising £200,000 raised by the firm to fund the construction of the transitional supportive accommodation young people leaving the care system.
The new homes have been designed by O’Donnell Brown Architects.
Elizabeth McShane, the Barnardo’s UK Head of Business for Gap Homes, said: “It can be very difficult for young people leaving care to live alone for the first time, especially when it comes to running a home on a limited budget.
“Gap Homes create a safe and stable environment in which young people can thrive. What’s more, they are built in established communities and have low running costs.
“The current housing crisis means that there’s not a lot of available housing, let alone for young people leaving care,
“This latest Gap Homes development in Stirling forms part of the fight to tackle the lack of suitable accommodation for care leavers.
“Our Gap Homes projects are closely aligned with our vow to keep The Promise.
“The Promise is the outcome of Scotland’s independent care review and is about ensuring every child in Scotland grows up safe, loved and respected.
“Part of our overall work at Barnardo’s in responding to The Promise is increasing the opportunity for care experienced people to access employment, training, stable housing and support.”
Ms McShane added: “At Barnardo’s, we have a strong track record in supporting young people to develop the skills they need to succeed in reaching independence as adults.
“Offering purpose-built accommodation for care leavers, we will also provide practical and emotional support, for up to two years, for those who need it the most.
“We believe Gap Homes have the potential to transform the lives of care leavers across the country, giving them the fresh start they deserve.”
“Young people are expected to be resident in a Gap Home for up to two years.
“As landlord, Barnardo’s can offer flexibility on the length of tenure, reflecting each young person’s individual needs.
Brian Pettigrew, Sector Director for Housing with Morris & Spottiswood, added: “We are extremely proud to be working in partnership with Barnardo’s to deliver the next Gap Homes project in Stirling.
“This energy-efficient building will provide much-needed accommodation for young people in a safe and stable environment.
“Opportunities like this are few and far between, and we as a business are fully aligned to support the Barnardo’s objectives of developing skills, and the progressive journey to a fresh start in life.”