Barnardo’s Bay 6 Project, which offers accommodation to 16 to 21 year-olds, was visited by High Sheriff Robert Webb, in a trip hosted by Mayor of South Ribble, Coun Mick Titherington.
The party heard how homeless youngsters are given a place to sleep in private bedrooms, and have use of shared communal areas, in three accomm-odation blocks in Leyland.
The charity, which has 17 one-bedroomed flats in total, offers support in everything from finding a job to cooking and the youngsters are also taught practical life skills such as dealing with bills.
Jenny Ashcroft, children’s services manager for Barnardo’s in Lancashire, says: “Young people who are in need of housing and support are referred to us and we set up a support plan to move them onto the next step of their lives.
“We give them a cooking and cleaning budget and we teach them practical skills to live on their own, which gives them confidence and more self esteem to develop healthy relationships.
“We are quite strict with them as they have curfews and jobs. But it works and keeps everyone safe.
“We also look at their mental health and we offer a counselling service through Barnardo’s.”
As a result, youngsters who use the service have made vast improvements to their lives, including 19-year-old Hannah Croft, who has been nominated for the High Sheriff Young Citizen of the Year Award.
Jenny Ashcroft, children’s services manager for Barnardo’s in Lancashire, says: “We are very honest with the youngsters and that helps to build strong relationships. We give a lot of support in terms of education and getting people back into work.
“We have a fantastic relationship with Runshaw College and help youngsters improve their attendance and grades. The young people feel very supported and safe with us.
“We have had young people who have gone on to university, have gone into nursing and one was even a Scots Guard at Buckingham Palace.
“One of our members, Hannah Croft, who has lived with us for a couple of years has been nominated for the High Sheriff Young Citizen of the Year Award.
“I nominated her for the young volunteer of the year award with South Ribble Council and she won that.
“As a result, she ended up being put forward for the Citizens Award. The winner will be announced later this year.
“It is a great confidence booster to acknowledge what she has done.”
Others who have benefitted from the support services include an 18-year-old who became a father while living at Bay 6 accommodation in Leyland.
He says: “Bay 6 really helped me deal with becoming a father and all the things I needed to know and do. I’ve been here since 2016 and the team have been absolutely wonderful.”
Oliver, 17, is another youngster who has thrived since being welcomed into the project, as he recently won the very first Bay 6 Resident of the Month award.
He says: “There is a very positive culture here. We all feel safe and able to speak out about how we’re feeling.
“It quickly became my home and we’re all a big, slightly weird family. But it’s the best kind of unconventional family.”
Jenny adds: “It’s all about giving these young people the belief that they can do things.
“The project has a huge impact on their lives and I’m glad that, for many of them, Bay 6 really does feel like home.”
Bay 6 was also recently awarded the Lancashire LGBT Charter Mark, showing their policies were in line with equality and fairness within the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.