Benjamin Foundation’s supported accommodation helps young people gain independence

The Benjamin Foundation's Winston Court in North Walsham. Manager Wayne Miles with residents Ryan Sp

The Benjamin Foundation's Winston Court in North Walsham. Manager Wayne Miles with residents Ryan Spencer Matt O'Connor.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

For the hundreds of young homeless people who have passed through its doors, Winston Court has provided them with the support needed to get their lives back on track.

The hostel, based in North Walsham, offers secure accommodation to around 15 young people at any one time and aims to prepare them to live independently.

It is just one of many vital services run by the Benjamin Foundation for some of the most vulnerable individuals in our county.

And money from this year's Norwich Sleep Out 2016 will ensure that they all continue to operate across Norfolk.

Wayne Miles, operations manager at Winston Court, said it had provided a temporary home to around 300 individuals since it opened 18 years ago.

'For some young people it has been a life-saver,' he said. 'It has helped turn the lives around of many of these young people and some of them have said they don't know where they would have been without it.'

The service offers nine single accommodation rooms, a communal kitchen, laundry room, lounge and games room for people aged 16 to 25.

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Once they are ready, they then have the choice to move into one of the charity's six semi-independent move-on flats located opposite the main building.

Mr Miles said: 'It is 24-hour support when they arrive. The main thing is that because they are homeless, we offer them four walls and security. That is important for some of them.'

The young residents are also allocated a support worker who can help address any particular issues they may have.

On average, Mr Miles said they stayed for around 10 to 12 months before moving on to independent accommodation.

Matt Garrod, director of operations for housing and homelessness, said: 'A home provides us with warmth, security, attachment and a place of emotional well-being.

'When young people become homeless these key elements are stripped away and young people are scared, isolated and in a desperate place. Winston Court steps in to help young people at this traumatic time in their lives when they most need support.

'Our belief is that the costs of running Winston Court and our other centres around the county is far out-weighed by the benefits to the individuals and society in the longer term.'

The Evening News has teamed up with the charity to try and get 150 people taking part in the Norwich Sleep Out 2016 on November 11.

To get involved in the event visit www.benjaminfoundation.co.uk/sleep-out

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