Barnardo’s Scotland breaks ground on new starter homes for young people in Stirling

Barnardo’s Scotland breaks ground on new starter homes for young people in Stirling

Work has begun on a housing scheme designed to support young people at risk of homelessness in Stirling.

In partnership with the local council and construction firm Morris & Spottiswood, children’s charity Barnardo’s Scotland has begun work on five ‘Gap Homes’, which are purpose-built houses for young people leaving the care system.

The scheme is designed to tackle the 50/50 chance of care-leavers becoming homeless due to a lack of suitable accommodation.

Gap Homes – which are already being used in Paisley and Essex – not only provide high-quality and affordable housing for care-experienced youngsters, but also facilitate their integration into established communities. Apart from care leavers, other groups of vulnerable youth can also benefit from the scheme.

Barnardo’s Scotland breaks ground on new starter homes for young people in Stirling

Elizabeth McShane

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, but 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 Glasgow-based 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.”

This Gap Homes project in Stirling has been 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. Finally, the new homes have been designed by O’Donnell Brown Architects.

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