Could you offer a spare bedroom and guidance to a young care leaver?
Many of our young people are not yet ready to live on their own. They want independence but also need the safety net of a room to go back to and someone to offer advice. The 'Stepping Stones' scheme helps people over 16 to develop the practical skills and emotional stability they need to live independently and reach their potential.
Stepping Stones providers support young people, aged between 16-21 years, who are between care and living alone. The scheme is aimed specifically at helping young people who are leaving care make the step into independent adulthood, with carers providing them with somewhere to live, as well as help gaining skills to make the transition to independent living. This often involves helping them gain crucial life skills and experience - anything from showing them how to cook or manage their money, to teaching them how to apply for work or college - things some of us have been able to take for granted, that for others could make a huge difference.
As a Stepping Stones provider, you have the same access to ‘skills to foster’ as our foster carers, plus great support. Stepping Stones may be a good option for people who:
- work or have other commitments, as many of our young people want independence, but are not yet ready to live alone
- enjoy being with young adults and are keen to help them move towards independence
- are of an older age and would enjoy sharing their home and life experiences with a young person
- live alone or as a couple, though families can also provide a great environment
It’s also helpful if you live in a Somerset town as it’s important our care leavers have access to good transport links and amenities, in addition to career opportunities.
How does it work?
You'll need to be over 23 with a spare room in your home, whilst also providing support, encouragement and guidance when needed. Any young person staying with you will need to become part of your home and share the facilities. Some need help with practical tasks like cooking or budgeting, while others will need more emotional support.
It will be easier for them to start work or training, or continue in education without the added pressure of having to do everything themselves. With your help, they gradually take on more responsibility for looking after themselves, until they feel confident enough to cope on their own.
Stepping Stones is about making a young person feel welcome, comfortable and secure, and enjoying their company.
In return you'll receive a weekly fee, starting at £188 per week, plus a little extra toward food and utilities etc (up to £27.50) paid weekly by the young person from their allowance. You will also be eligible for the same tax exemptions and relief as foster carers, but with much more flexibility to work full or part-time alongside your Stepping Stones role.
If you have the time and space to support a Somerset teenager leaving care, we’d love to hear from you.
There is no upper age limit - wisdom and experience are a bonus. We welcome people from all backgrounds and ethnicities - those who are single, LGBT, renting, or if you have children of your own already.
You could make a real difference to a young person’s life in this role.
To register your interest, or simply find out more, please contact our friendly team on 0800 587 9900 and ask for more information about ‘Stepping Stones’. You can also email us at SteppingStonesTeamLeavingCare@somerset.gov.uk