Turning young lives around

October 15, 2021

Hostel team leader, Louisa, shares how our  support is to helping residents find their feet.

“There are some misconceptions about young people who live in hostels. Like that they are all criminals, all misuse drugs or that they act a certain way. But that’s not the case,” says Louisa, hostel team leader at the Cardinal Hume Centre.

“Young people are just like you and me, they come here with different goals and aspirations. They just happen to live in a hostel. Through day-to-day interactions and sessions with keyworkers, we help residents build the skills they need to gain independence. Most young people who come to us have not had this sort of support before,” explains Louisa.

“We work with people from different backgrounds with different needs, treating everyone as individuals: no one is marginalised.” Covid-19 and the lockdown brought their own problems: “The pandemic had a noticeable impact on mental health in the hostel - ranging from low moods and reduced interaction with staff to diagnosed conditions such as psychosis.

“In the first lockdown there wasn’t online education provision available straightaway, so in the summer we upgraded our wifi system to make it easier for students to access classes online. They could use the Centre’s IT suite, too.” “There were a lot of differences in how the residents engaged with going online. Some did really well, and two started degrees. But for others, like those trying to learn English, it was a struggle.” Many young people have now returned to in-person lessons at college, and others have moved on from the hostel.

“Throughout the pandemic, young people were still moving to more independent living but at a slower rate. The backlog means it will take a while for young people to be able to move on as quickly.”

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