Residents open their homes to young asylum seekers in Warwickshire - The Leamington Observer

Residents open their homes to young asylum seekers in Warwickshire

Leamington Editorial 1st Nov, 2023   0

YOUNG asylum seekers like Rafy are finding a place to live thanks to Warwickshire’s supported lodgings programme.

Residents are making a significant difference in the lives of unaccompanied asylum-seeking young people through the programme led by Warwickshire County Council, in partnership with Barnardo’s.

One success story is Rafy, a young man who arrived in the UK two and a half years ago as an unaccompanied asylum-seeking youth, looking for safety and a chance for a better future.

Rafy found a home, support, and a path to personal growth through the Supported Lodgings programme and has been living with supported lodging host, Barbara, in Warwickshire since August.

He said: “I am lucky I have this home to live in; it is safe and a family home, and I have a great relationship with the host and her family. There is no rush to move on. This experience has given me time to learn essential life skills and improve my English and Math, preparing me for job training. It is similar to my foster home, but I get more independence, and from the start, Barbara was very kind and friendly, welcoming me into her family home.”

Rafy’s supported lodging host Barbara was previously a long-term foster carer for Warwickshire children’s services and decided to continue supporting young people by becoming a supported lodging host. Her dedication has resulted in numerous success stories.

She said: “One of the most uplifting experiences I’ve had as a host is witnessing many of my care leavers successfully transition to independence, with whom I still keep contact. I make my lodgers feel welcome and comfortable by allowing them the time to settle in and treating them as part of our family. Beyond offering a place to stay, I provide support by helping boost their confidence, fostering personal and independent skills, encouraging them to explore new opportunities, and maintaining a positive outlook even when things don’t go as planned.”

Barbara continued: “Through my role as a host, I’ve seen significant positive changes and growth in many of my young people as they benefit from the safe, family-like environment to find their way in life. I maintain a positive and respectful relationship by avoiding judgment, being patient, and providing nurturing support during tough times. This approach has led to meaningful connections and friendships with many of my lodgers, and I’ve witnessed them achieving great success, including securing jobs, starting their own families, and expressing gratitude for the support.”

And to those considering becoming a supported lodging host, Barbara advises: “I would say it’s a very rewarding journey, but it requires patience, active listening, and maintaining composure during moments of stress for your young person. Over time, as trust builds, the relationship truly thrives, empowering the young person to move toward independence confidently and positively.”

To learn more about becoming a supported lodgings host contact Barnardo’s Supported Lodgings Service by phone on 0800 0272 118 or by email at [email protected]

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