On 24th July we held the official opening of our newest scheme, Kidderminster Foyer, which was purpose built by WM Housing.
Young residents of the Kidderminster Foyer attended a lunchtime celebration where they were joined by local Councillors, local Member of Parliament, supporters, volunteers, and stakeholders.
The building of this scheme was funded by WM Housing with significant contributions from the Homes and Communities Agency, Wyre Forest District Council, the County Council and West Mercia, to meet local need identified by Wyre Forest District Council. The support within the scheme is provided by St Basils, commissioned originally through the Supporting People programme (now called Future Lives) of Worcestershire County Council.
The Foyer provides accommodation for 19 young people aged 16-25. It was built with the aim of not only helping them regain some stability but assisting them to access education, training and work opportunities and teaching them life skills to ensure they can move on to independent living. It has a large designated training kitchen and ICT training room so staff can teach young people how to cook healthy meals on a budget and aid them in job searches and applying for opportunities. Furthermore the work-focused ethos of the foyer was apparent from the very beginning of this scheme’s conception, with St Basils young people, who were working as apprentices for Bullock Construction, helping to build the project itself. Architects, Walker Troupe and representatives from Bullock Construction attended the event to celebrate the schemes official launch.
This new scheme builds on the success of a very similar project in Bromsgrove which was also purpose built and is owned by WM Housing and staffed by St Basils.
St Basils have been working to prevent youth homelessness in North Worcestershire since 2005 and Kidderminster since 2010 with 3 accommodation schemes, a floating support service for vulnerable young people at risk of homelessness and a schools project providing advice. The charity also has a private rental scheme operating in the area to provide further housing options for employed young people who have moved on from an accommodation scheme.
Jean Templeton, Chief Executive of St Basils spoke first at the opening celebration calling it a ‘proud day’.
She offered: “A massive thank you to all the partners, for securing the resources to make this scheme a reality….National, regionally and locally young people tell us that what they need from us is the support to build skills and access work opportunities because they don’t want to be on benefits. This scheme provides a safe and inspiring space where young people can settle and reconnect with education, training and employment opportunities whilst developing independent living skills. Being able to do this within a supportive local community is key to a positive future. The challenge for all of us is to ensure that our effort, commitment and collaboration continues so we can make sure that local young people achieve their potential and ambitions.”
Sam Pratley - Managing Director, WM Housing said:
“We were first approached about the principle of a having a foyer in Kidderminster and one in Bromsgrove 8 years ago. It’s been a need for the people in Kidderminster and Bromsgrove for that long....Giving vulnerable young people the opportunities to maximise their talents and gain employment is something we strongly believe in and strive to achieve. We wish all the young people the very best for the future”.
Cllr Stephen Williams, Chairman of Wyre Forest District Council (WFDC) performed the official part of the opening, unveiling the plaque of commemoration. He said:
I’m delighted to be here at the official opening of the foyer. We can already see the difference it has made to young people’s lives and this fully justifies the fight we went through to get to this point. It was some 10 years ago when we recognised an issue with young people approaching for help with accommodation and support and back then there were limited options for them.
One young woman who is Resident Rep of the Kidderminster Foyer said: “It’s alright here, it’s a good location for town, and the station and where I go to college. The staff are wonderful because they take the time to sit down and listen to what you’re saying and what you’re going through. They take pride in their work…. It’s good to have the training room and the computers and we do a ‘monthly cook’ in the training room kitchen. Staff ask us what we want to learn to cook and we all come down and learn how to cook it together. I really enjoy that. I’m a catering student but more on the baking side, that’s what I’m studying at college. I want to be a Pastry chef and one day I’d really like my own business, it’s a bit ambitious but that’s my dream which I’m hoping I can achieve.”
Please help Kidderminster scheme by voting for St Basils in Lloyds Community Fund initiative
Staff at Kidderminster foyer are hoping to win up to £3000 to kit out an activities room at the scheme to help bring young people together and develop social skills. To win a share of the money on offer we need the support of our local community!
Please vote by visiting http://communityfund.lloydsbank.com/communityfund/cf_home.asp and typing St Basils into the 'Find a cause' box. It only takes a few seconds to vote.
Thanks for your support!
Updated 1st September 2014