We are pleased to announce an exciting new partnership with local housing charity Response; the Young People’s Supported Accommodation programme.

Oxfordshire County Council initiated a system change approach to ‘supported housing’ in Oxfordshire with their recent Tender.

Local mental health charity Response, who provides housing for over 200 people across the Thames Valley, has teamed up with us to provide an innovative new model of support for young people in supported housing in Oxfordshire.

Statement by Response: We are delighted to be given the opportunity to positively impact the lives of so many people across Oxfordshire. We believe that everyone needs a home that is safe, secure and comfortable in order to achieve their maximum potential. This service will complement the work we already do such as our innovative CAMHS partnership, mental health support in schools and our Mental Wealth Academy which supports 18-25-year-olds.

Our statement: We are excited to be bringing a youth work approach, working in partnership with our network of youth organisations across the county, to deliver a new localised support service for young people. This approach will see youth voice and youth leadership at the heart of this work, and we look forward to developing this model alongside the young people soon.

This contract will see Response provide 3-4 bed homes across Oxfordshire for 130 young people aged 18-25 and Oxfordshire Youth will lead on a youth sector partnership of support for these young people to live happy and healthy lives, moving into independent living. As part of a major review of the Young People’s Supported Housing Pathway in 2019, Oxfordshire County Council conducted research providing evidence that young people in supported accommodation are more likely to thrive in shared properties which house a maximum of four young people.

Co-production and engagement were key when reviewing and improving the previous system. The review was undertaken with the involvement of district and county council staff, colleagues from partner agencies and young people who have used supported housing services.

Response and Oxfordshire Youth have been chosen to lead on Oxfordshire County Council’s new redesigned service with the aim of better meeting the needs of young people now and in the future.

Vulnerable young people, or young people at risk of homelessness – which includes unaccompanied asylum seekers and care leavers – will be provided with high-quality accommodation while being supported to develop their independent living skills, find employment, education or training. They will learn to build positive relationships and links to their local communities and family members if it is safe to do so. The service is a short-term intervention for over 18 months, which includes a plan to help young people meet their long-term needs. During their tenancies, the young people will be supported by Oxfordshire County Council or Oxfordshire Youth.

A Private Landlord Scheme has been set up, offering exceptional benefits to those who meet the requirements, including the reassurance of a guaranteed income and stress-free maintenance fully taken over by Response’s team of decorators, carpenters, and other trade professionals. Applications can still be submitted.

On Friday 14th of August, a crowdfunding campaign run by Oxfordshire Kindness Wave started with the aim of raising funds for 230 Housewarming Parcels to be sent to the young people moving into their new homes from 1st of October 2020 onwards.

“It’s time to break new ground in Oxfordshire and to place young people at the heart of the service.”

More information about the Young People’s Supported Accommodation services can be found on the website of the Oxfordshire County Council.