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The West Brom partners with Barnardo's to provide new and safe housing for young care leavers

The West Brom is partnering with Barnardo’s to build four ‘Gap Homes’ for young vulnerable people leaving the care system in the Black Country area.

The Society is looking to join the Dormant Assets Scheme, operated by Reclaim Fund Ltd (RFL), to fund £500,000 for the new homes, with further colleague fundraising planned in the future to provide continued support to the charity.

The ‘Gap Homes’ initiative utilises vacant land within a local authority and builds energy-efficient, easy to maintain homes for care leavers, offering vulnerable young people a vital transition home whilst also being supported by Barnardo’s staff. Barnardo’s and the West Brom are in discussions with Sandwell Council to explore building the Gap Homes within the region and to ensure the project is delivered in the heart of the Black Country.

The partnership will last for at least two years whilst the homes are being built, with further support from the Society providing other services such as financial education, internships and work placements for the individuals that will be using the new homes.

Jonathan Westhoff, West Brom Chief Executive, said: “As a mutual business, supporting the communities in which we operate is a core part of our ethos, and forms part of our commitments to our members. This partnership links directly to our Purpose of supporting homeownership and we’re passionate about being able to support care leavers in the local area by providing safe and suitable accommodation.

As well as this, we will be offering our services to provide financial education to the care leavers, to give them the tools to manage their money and make good financial decisions. We will also be providing work placements to gain valuable experience within the workplace and help build confidence.

When a young person leaves the care system, it can be an incredibly difficult time as they usually do so without a support network to help them. Having affordable and suitable accommodation can make a huge difference and help young people make a positive start to their adult life.”

Hugh Sherriffe, Barnardo’s Central Regional Director, said: “Leaving home is challenging for anyone yet many care leavers have no one to turn to for support in making that next step. This is why the Gap Homes initiative is so important.

“Supporting young people to become independent and develop life skills is at the heart of Gap Homes and we are delighted to be partnering with the West Brom and having discussions with Sandwell Council to try and make this happen.

“Vulnerable young people need us now more than they ever have and this will help to transform the future of West Midlands’ care leavers for years to come.”

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