National Express Foundation help Birmingham’s young homeless learn independent living skills
James Donnan and Nikki Houghton from the National Express Foundation
National Express Foundation has awarded youth homelessness charity St Basils another £2,500 grant for the second year running. The funding is supporting St Basils Life Skills programme which aims to teach young residents the skills they’ll need to live independently so that they can move on successfully.
St Basils is the largest youth homelessness charity in the West Midlands housing over 1,200 young people aged 16-25 per year whilst supporting them back into education, work and training.
Through the Life Skills programme which is conducted by staff in all St Basils 29 supported accommodation schemes across the West Midlands, young people have the chance to achieve an Open College Network (OCN) Life Skills qualification by developing skills for independent life. They complete a selection of modules such as building a career portfolio, healthy eating, personal budgeting and cooking in a domestic kitchen, amongst others. Those that complete the qualification are invited to a cap and gown graduation celebration to recognise their progress and achievements. Completing the Life Skills programme is often the start of the young person’s journey back to education and builds their confidence.
Thanks to this latest grant from the National Express Foundation, Life Skills can now be extended to some of the young people that St Basils support in their own homes who are currently at risk of homelessness. For some of these young people learning the skills to live independently will help prevent homelessness.
St Basils Life Skills Co-ordinator Manjit Dhillon said:
“We are very grateful to National Express Foundation for supporting us for a second year with another £2,500 grant. In recent years St Basils has tended to support more young people from the younger end of the age range we help, and at 16-19 years old, these young people have limited life experience to draw on to overcome the challenges that suddenly finding themselves living on their own can present. Therefore our Life Skills programme has become even more vital and support such as this has meant we have been able to expand the Life Skills programme at St Basils providing intensive tailored support to meet the needs of each young person and prevent homelessness and repeat homelessness.”
National Express Foundation General Manager James Donnan said:
"We are delighted to be able to support St Basils accredited Life Skills programme again this year. Young people rarely have any experience of looking after themselves and an important step in preventing repeat youth homelessness is to provide young people with the support and skills they need to live independently in the community.
"Whilst the programme's fundamental aim is to help young people develop the confidence and tools that they need to live independently, it also gives them a recognised qualification which can help them continue in to further education or training."