Leicester YMCA launches supported housing for the future

Tuesday, 24th November, 2009
A new vision for housing young homeless people was launched at Leicester YMCA on Friday, 20th November. Joined by the Lord Mayor of Leicester, public sector partners and young people, the charity announced their plans for a £4million remodelling project for the grade 2 listed building on East Street.

The Vision
Local architects rg+p presented the plans for the project which they have developed through consultation with staff and residents at Leicester YMCA. Guests to the event were able to look into a life size mock up of an en-suite bedroom.

The remodelling programme will transform the current bedsits and long corridors into vibrant, modern accommodation clusters, creating ten one-bed studio flats, six four-bed flats and two six-bed flats all with en-suite. Young people, aged 16 - 25, will progress through a pathway which will cater for different levels of support needs, give them an exciting place to call home and something to aspire to.

"We are committed to ensuring that our accommodation does not carry the traditional stigma of poor "hostel" provision and as such this investment will enable us to create supported housing for the future. Our vision is to create high quality facilities for young people who are at risk of homelessness and at the same time provide them with the skills and support they need to live independently." Paul Brown, Chief Executive of Leicester YMCA

Building work
The main building work will start on site in April 2010 and will be completed and ready for young people to move in from August 2011. Preparatory work has already begun. The contractor's tender will include provision for a minimum of four of Leicester YMCA's service users or residents to be employed as part of the construction team, to help them into work.

Leicester YMCA is currently the largest voluntary sector provider of supported housing for young people in Leicestershire and a key partner in the local authority's strategic housing plan. The new development will house 46 young people in addition to 38 spaces at other sites. The charity will continue to offer housing provision and support for existing residents at rented locations in the city while the building work is carried out.

In June 2009 Leicester YMCA, in partnership with Leicester City Council, was awarded £2.6m by the Department for Children, Schools & Families towards the £4m dream project to provide high quality supported accommodation for homeless and socially excluded young people. Further funding has been secured from the Homes and Communities Agency.

Awards for young people
Awards were handed out to young people at the event to celebrate their achievements. Lucy Evans, Louisa Lewis-Sanders and Adam Allison received the Michael John Henry Award and a laptop, to recognise the distance they have travelled in education. The awards were presented by Robyn Spruce in memory of her son Michael John Henry, a young man who left a legacy which enabled Leicester YMCA to expand its services for young people.

Ros Kershaw, Head of Service at Connexions LeicesterShire, also presented awards to eight young people for successfully completing their Customer Service NVQ Training, which was specially developed by Leicester YMCA for current and former residents. They are the second group to take the course, with the third group running the hospitality at the event as part of their work assessments.

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