A KIND-hearted Leamington solicitor has opened her home to help a vulnerable teenage girl.
Sarah Chapman was looking to advertise for a lodger to live with her in her three-bedroom home when she heard about the Barnardo’s Supported Lodgings scheme.
The 31-year-old decided to offer one of her rooms to a young care leaver so that she could help with the transition into adulthood.
She is now supporting the teenage girl and says the experience has ‘opened her eyes’ to new experiences and enabled her to make a ‘massive impact’ on a young person’s life.
Sarah, a solicitor with Birmingham-based Pinsent Masons said: “I’d previously been interested in fostering but that was more of a long-term plan, so this seemed like a good stepping stone.
“Providing a room for a vulnerable young person has been a much better use of the space.”
Sarah underwent background checks and training before being approved as a host.
The charity then brought selected lodgers to her house so they could see where they might live and if they might get along.
She now receives payments from the charity for rent, food and other costs, along with ongoing support.
Sarah said: “I clicked with the second girl I met. We were very comfortable in each other’s company and the conversation flowed easily, so we all agreed that she could move in.
“She’s settled in really well and is great company. She wants to live independently when she reaches her 18th birthday but in the meantime she’s got a safety net in place, and it’s nice that I’m not living on my own.
“The young person is welcome to invite her friends around, which means the house is livelier and it feels more like a home.
“She’s also opened my eyes to different things in terms of music, TV shows and places to go, which I’ve really enjoyed, and in return I’ve helped with her life-skills – we go shopping in the supermarket and I’ve helped her with budgeting and filling in forms for her driving licence and passport.
“If she has a problem we’ll work together to find a solution.”
And Sarah says she is really enjoying home life with the teen.
She added: “Supported lodgings provide the opportunity to make a massive impact on a young person’s life, offering stability and security which they might otherwise not have.
“It’s really rewarding and worthwhile.”
Call Barnardo’s on 02476 372596 or email BSLmidlands@barnardos.org.uk to find out more about supported lodgings.