Our Supported Lodgings schemes across South and West Wales have been running for several years, and have been successful at helping young people to gain the skills and confidence to become independent young adults.

Supported Lodgings Providers are people who provide a room in their home for young people who cannot live at home. In return, our Providers receive ongoing training and support from Llamau, and a weekly payment to support the placement.

We spoke with Sarah*, one of our current Supported Lodgings Providers, about her experiences of being a provider, and why she wanted to provide a room in her home for a young person supported by Llamau.

Sarah's* Story

*Name has been changed

I’ve been a Supported Lodgings provider with Llamau since 2017. My friend referred me after she became a provider and thought the opportunity to help young people who needed a home would be something I’d be interested in. My work involves supporting young people experiencing homelessness, so my background has helped prepare me for the role.

I’ve had a few young people come to stay with me over the years. One young man, Ricky*, has lived with me for nearly two years now. He’s come such a long way since he first moved in. He’d spent a lot of his life in foster care because coming to live with me and at the time he was really struggling with addiction problems.

We’ve always got on really well regardless of the troubles Ricky has experienced. He’s a good young man who just needed a helping hand. We had quite a few frank discussions about how he needed to get himself in order and since then he’s really turned his life around. He’s now in the Navy and comes home on weekends to stay. I’m really proud of how well he’s doing. I don’t often think about it but it’s lovely to think I’ve been able to play a part in helping him go on to better and good things in life than where he was initially heading.

I had another young man living with me whilst Ricky was here. When Ricky would come home (Covid permitting) they’d spend time together and enjoy each other’s company. They called each other brothers, which was lovely.

Ricky has been the consistent young person here and has offered his own form of support to other young people. He recently told the young man living with me now that "Sarah has all bases covered mate so don’t think you’ll get away with anything". I laughed when Ricky told him about the times I’ve turned the WIFI off or played 80s music loudly outside his bedroom door until he got up for college or just went out for fresh air. We all love our 80s music and have little competitions, plus the young man is now singing Dolly Parton in the shower! We’ve had some really good times together and no doubt they’ll all be here for Sunday dinner this weekend.

When a young person comes to live with me, I do treat them like they’re part of my family. My son and step-daughter live locally and pop in from time to time. We all spend time together and eat, have a laugh together. It’s normal for us now to always be an extended family. It’s important to make them feel part of the family as well. It might be the first time they’ve ever felt part of a family because of the trauma and experiences they’ve had.

I always try to focus on helping the young people living here to build up their independence. I want them to learn how to do things for themselves and make their own decisions. I support them to plan things like their bus journey’s rather than picking them up or giving them lifts. I’ve shown them how to use the washing machine and how to follow a recipe so they can cook their own food. I teach basic life skills.

I have a lot of support from Llamau should I need it, as does the young person. My Support Worker, Belinda, has been amazing and offered me help and support every step of the way. What I like is that you’re matched with a young person before they move in. Before a young person actually moves in there’s a lot of ‘meet and greets’ arranged so we can both get to know each other and decide whether we want to try living together. It’s important for us both to be comfortable with each other so it’s more likely to work out.

If someone was considering becoming a Supported Lodgings host with Llamau I’d say definitely go for it but make sure you’re as prepared as possible, because that’s key. Don’t just go into it thinking everything will be rosy because at times it’s not and it’s really hard. I’ve had one young person had to move out, which made me feel really sad for a while, but I had to come to terms with the fact that it won’t always work out, but when it does it’s amazing and quite literally changes lives.

Become a Supported Lodgings Provider

Do you have a spare room and want to give a young person the chance of a future? We currently run schemes in Carmarthenshire, Newport, Neath Port Talbot, the Vale of Glamorgan, Caerphilly, Blaenau Gwent and Torfaen

You don't need any special qualifications to be a Supported Lodgings host, and our current hosts come from a variety of backgrounds. It doesn't matter whether you are married or single, working or unemployed. All you need is a spare room and a willingness to help a young person to develop the skills they will need to eventually move into and manage their own home. 

In return, you will receive full training, a regular weekly payment to cover your costs and full support from Llamau.

If you are interested in getting involved with our Supported Lodgings schemes, please contact the appropriate person in your area for a friendly informal discussion.

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