A supported housing scheme in St Helens designed to give young people from difficult backgrounds a brighter future and the skills they need to live independently celebrates its 21st birthday next month.
Ahead of the event on Wednesday October 24, Ravenhead Foyer in Sherdley Road is calling for former residents to get in touch so that a reunion can take place as part of the special day.
Ravenhead, affiliated to the Foyer Federation and owned and managed by housing provider Your Housing Group, has given opportunity and hope to more than 800 people aged 16 to 25 since it opened back in 1997.
Staff based at Ravenhead and across Your Housing Group’s supported housing teams would love to hear how former residents are getting on and speak to any that would be willing to share their experiences with current residents as well as special guests on the day.
Ravenhead has 32 apartments where young people are encouraged to live independently. As well as being taught essential skills, staff work closely with residents to harness talent and promote self-belief, positive aspects that can be severely hindered by challenging environments.
Foyer Operations Manager Glen O’Hare has worked at the centre since it opened. Previously a teacher, he joined as a training officer and remembered how challenging it was.
“What I had done before only scratched the surface of the issues young people faced,” he said.
“Even so, we don’t dwell on what has been. Our aim is to stop the negative thinking and give young people purpose, belief in themselves, work with them on what they are good at and give them what they need to thrive and move on.
“I know that every young person has something special about them. We help them find it, nurture it, then give them the skills and confidence to live independently and realise their true potential. It’s a challenging job, for sure, but so rewarding.”
Ravenhead is one of Your Housing Group’s four Foyers across the North West, in total providing 140 apartments. It’s part of the landlord’s supported housing service, which includes centres for the homeless, domestic abuse support and tailored help to vulnerable residents in their own home.
Your Housing Group owns around 200 units of directly-managed supported housing across nine sites and around a further 800 units that are managed by other support agencies. The Group’s supported housing department employs around 120 staff whose passion and compassion are what make the difference to hundreds of residents every day.
The Foyer Federation creates programmes, campaigns and ideas for Foyers to implement, filling gaps in community services and inspiring policy and decision makers to make a more effective investment in young people.