People across Leeds are being asked to offer a place to stay for vulnerable young people who are leaving custody.
Leeds-based Barnardo’s Futures service has spent the past 20 years providing temporary, supported accommodation for young people aged 16 to 21, who are leaving care or at risk of homelessness.
Now the service is launching a scheme to support young people who are leaving custody in a bid to help them rebuild their lives.
Futures team manager, Jane Smith, said: “Many of the young people we are working with who are coming out of custody are care leavers.
“They don’t have a loving mum or dad to go home to, or a safe, secure place to live until they get back on their feet.”
She added: “Barnardo’s is all about giving young people another chance.
“By working with us to offer safe accommodation for a young person who is trying to rebuild their lives, you can have an incredibly positive impact and make a real difference to a young person.”
Those who take part in the scheme are called ‘hosts’ and can be couples, families or single people.
A Barnardo’s spokeswoman said: “They are people who have a spare room in their home and can provide breakfast for a young person.
“Hosts also need to enjoy the company of young people and have an understanding of the issues they face in a bid to help young people to develop the skills needed to step out into the world on their own.”
A weekly payment of up to £150 is made to hosts to cover expenses.
Barnardo’s staff are also on hand to offer training, support and advice, 24 hours a day.
Mrs Smith added: “Hosts make a huge difference to a young person’s life. But it’s not a one way street.
“The role is also extremely rewarding for the host as well.”
Barnardo’s works with more than 100,000 children, young people and their families.
The children’s charity also works with 415 specialised projects in communities throughout the UK.
To find out more about the service, contact Barnardo’s Futures on 0113 275 7314 or visit the website at www.barnardos.org.uk.