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 Tracy, 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.

Tina's Story

"I first heard about Llamau’s Supported Lodgings scheme through a friend. We bumped into each other one day and she was talking about Llamau and the scheme. Having been a foster carer for nearly five years, the idea of supporting a young person again in my home interested me. I also always felt like young people leaving the care system never really had enough support offered to them once they’d left. It’s like it just stops one day and they’re supposed to just be ok.

I only stopped being a foster carer so I could go back to work and study. The young people I used to foster had quite complex needs but I did enjoy being a foster carer and I think I did a good job.

What I liked about the Supported Lodgings scheme was that I could support a young person in my home but the support didn’t have to be as intense as it was when I was a foster carer. There was less responsibility but I could still help a young person develop their independence in life, so they didn’t have to rely on others.

I’ve been with Llamau six years now and had a number of young people move in and out of my home. The idea of opening your home to a stranger can feel a bit strange but you just need to set boundaries for the both of you early on and stick to them. Those boundaries help the young person just as much as they help me.

I have had some difficult experiences but when they happen it’s important to remember that these young people have also had their own very difficult experiences. It’s not their fault they’re in the position they are and a lot of them have no stable family around them so they’re quite lost really.

You take the difficult experiences with the brilliant ones. The first young person to move in with me was a young mum. Initially she struggled to develop a bond with her baby but I remember watching that change and seeing her maternal instinct kick in. It was amazing. I still see her occasionally, which is lovely. We go out for a coffee or a bit of lunch and catch up. For me, it’s important a young person feels like they can remain in touch even once they’ve left my home. The support doesn’t have to just end there. 

I’m still in touch with a young man that stayed with me for a while. He had a wonderful personality but was very troubled. He used to self-harm, which he said was a form of self-expression. It’s important you don’t judge young people for their actions because again they are where they are for reasons you can’t imagine. I made him a little self-harm box, which had things like bandages and witch hazel in it so he could do it as safely as possible if he felt the need to do it. I still laugh when I think about the time I came home and he was wearing make-up. I told him he looked amazing and he said “thanks, I used your make-up”. He was experimenting with his identity at the time. I just laughed and told him not to touch my clothes.

The support from Llamau has been great. I know if I ever need help Belinda is only a phone call away. Nothing ever seems too much for her. The training I had from Llamau definitely helped me as a host but my work has always been within the care services, so that has also helped me.

Something I love about being a host is how young people can teach me just as much as I can teach them. They help keep your way of thinking quite young at times. They open your eyes to the realities of life and how much difference it can make to someone if you show them that you care about them."

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.

Get in touch