Study of Three Local House Projects reveals key to success for care leavers

Study of Three Local House Projects reveals key to success for care leavers

Posted 10th November 2022

Staf (Scottish Throughcare & Aftercare Forum) are delighted to share their study of three Local House Projects in Scotland. Coproduced by those with lived experience of care, the study highlights the benefits of The National House Project model not only to the lives of care leavers but also to the staff who support them and the wider community.

In 2020, Life Changes Trust partnered with the National House Project (NHP) to establish three Local House Project (LHP) pilots in Scotland in Fife, East Dunbartonshire, and Midlothian. Through LHPs, care-experienced young people between the ages of 16-21 are provided with the support and experience to develop the skills, knowledge and confidence to live independently. They are supported by Project Leads, Facilitators and Partners to access, decorate, and furnish their own home in a way that meets their preferences and requirements and once they have moved into their own homes, support is provided for as long as they need it.

Each LHP in Scotland aimed to support 30 young people in the funded period. There was scope for flexibility in the approach and delivery of each LHP, based on local context, individual needs of participating young people, the skills and experiences of staff and involvement of different stakeholders.

Thanks for funding from The Life Changes Trust, Staf were entrusted to take on the learning study of LHPs in Scotland. Through a mix of desk-based research, interviews with staff from the NHP and fieldwork with young people, staff and stakeholders in the LHPs, Staf were able to produce this qualitative study with impressive findings. Staf worked with Braw Talent and young people from the LHPs to produce creative expressions of the impact of each of the projects and the Floating Designer was employed to capture focus group discussions. The result of all of these elements are reflected in the final report and the key findings which are:

  • The House Project approach has had a significant positive impact on young people supported through the LHP.
  • Tenancies have been secured and maintained and community ties strengthened.
  • Corporate Parents have developed a clearer understanding of young people’s needs, how the care experience can affect young people, how this might affect the success or failure of housing tenancies, and the specific levels of support that some may need to secure and maintain a tenancy and other positive outcomes.
  • The power of interagency working, particularly between housing and social work leading to enhanced cooperation, support and understanding and culture change.
  • The importance of the LHP staff to the success of the project, underpinned by a relationship-based approach to working with young people. Allowing them the time to invest in relationships and build trust and respect.
  • The trust and respect ensures young people engage with the project, allowing them to develop skills for independent living, access services and sustain support from their peers.

Staf, and the LHPs, have every reason to believe these outcomes will be replicated in other local authorities should the framework be rolled out on a national level.

A selection of quotes from the study highlight the impact further

“Young people feel that they have their own wee community, their own family. That sense of connectedness – that’s what really works.” Facilitator, East Dunbartonshire LHP

“People should know, it’s more than just getting a house” Young person, Fife LHP

“This project wouldn’t be possible without relationship-based practice” Facilitator, East Dunbartonshire LHP

“It builds confidence in yourself to be more independent” Young person, East Dunbartonshire LHP

“We tailor our support to what works for the young people” Facilitator, Midlothian LHP

“We get to learn so many life skills, form our own community and be part of a team” Young person, Midlothian LHP

Jo Derrick, Staf CEO said:

“It is with great pride that Staf were trusted to undertake a learning study of the Local House Projects on behalf of Life Changes Trust and NHP. The report and subsequent launch webinar highlighted some of the key learning that has come from this study; we heard how it has led to personal pride in themselves and their community, the importance of relationships, how Corporate Parents have advocated and are championing the project to be modelled further in their area. We have heard about love in the approach to supporting care-experienced young adults, new commissioning processes being developed and cultural change in partnerships. There is a real recognition of the need for open ended and holistic support but also ownership and respect of this on behalf of the supporting team. This approach epitomises what can be achieved when care-experienced people are integral to the design and delivery of a service that is intended to meet their individual needs. It is testament to the care-experienced people involved that they have created a foundation for the projects to continue and that they have been wholly invested in supporting other young people to have access to this approach in the future.”

Katrina Gallagher, Study author and Staf Project Worker (Care Experienced Community) stated “We are delighted to finally share our study of House Projects in Scotland. House Projects have set the bar for quality housing, building relationships, and creating communities for people leaving care and moving into their own tenancy.  Thank you to the staff/young people from LHPs in Fife, East Dunbartonshire and Midlothian, to Sarah Ahmed @thefloatingdesigner for her work on the graphic maps, @brawtalent for the co-produced creative outputs and Life Changes Trust for funding.”

Mark Warr, CEO of the NHP said:

“We were delighted to read such a positive study of how LHPs in Scotland have improved outcomes for young people leaving care. The presentations from staff and young people from the projects really brought the work to life and we were pleased that we were able to share this with so many local authorities. We must thank people at Staf, Life Changes Trust, Braw Talent and the three local authorities but most of all, we say a huge thank you to the young people involved. Without your investment, commitment and trust we would never have been able to develop this approach in Scotland and we are now committed to your request to scale across Scotland so that more young people have the opportunity to benefit from the House Project approach.”

Click here to access the full report.

Braw Talent productions:

East Dunbartonshire: Cinderella Story

Fife: Our House – Local House Project Fife

Midlothian: Zine Design & Artwork

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