Relate Bedfordshire & Luton and YMCA Bedfordshire are working in partnership to deliver life skills training to 36 YMCA residents over the next two years.
Supported by a £15K grant from Lloyds Bank Foundation under its ‘Enable’ programme, the young adults, aged 18 and over, will focus on skills such as communication, managing time and coping with stress, alongside practical skills such as budgeting and food hygiene.
Relate’s education & learning manager Yasmin Ali says the training will help those taking part gain self-esteem and confidence to secure a permanent home and search for jobs.
In addition to the training courses, run by Relate and YMCA trainers at YMCA’s Bedford Foyer three times a year , each participant will be offered one-to-one coaching sessions which will focus on their individual aspirations “to help them move forward in their lives and become contributing members of society”, says Yasmin.
YMCA has a growing population of local young adults living in their hostels. Almost all of them are poorly accommodated before being given a hostel place – such as in overcrowded conditions, ‘sofa surfing’ with friends or living on the streets. “The primary reason people come to the YMCA is a breakdown in family relationships and having nowhere else to go when asked to leave,” says Caroline Barkham, YMCA Bedfordshire’s training manager. “A high proportion of residents have limited or no experience of living independently and lack the most basic of skills when they approach the service for help.”
The average stay in a YMCA Bedfordshire hostel is 9-12 months. Residents can stay for a maximum of two years by which time they will have completed a planned programme of resettlement and are ready to move on into their own independent accommodation. “The training will support our young adults to develop positive networks and gain practical skills to help them as they move on in their lives and leave our accommodation,” says Caroline.
Duncan Shrubsole, director of policy and partnerships at the Lloyds Bank Foundation says: “Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales is proud to support the work of Relate Bedfordshire & Luton. Their new life skills training project in partnership with the YMCA is an exciting vision and we are pleased to help make it happen, and in doing so to support young homeless people to gain skills and qualities to further their futures. We applaud the charity’s development of the range of services they provide to benefit those at critical points in their lives.”