Hosts from the Benjamin Foundation’s Heart and Home scheme are thanked for their work helping young people

Youngsters and adults gathered at a Heart and Home barbecue at Thorpe St Andrews Football Club. Pict

Youngsters and adults gathered at a Heart and Home barbecue at Thorpe St Andrews Football Club. Picture: Stuart Anderson - Credit: Archant

They open up their doors and share their homes with young people in need.

And now the hosts who take part in a Heart and Home host scheme have been thanked at a special celebration.

The scheme, run by the Benjamin Foundation, sees 16 to 18-year-olds who are leaving care stay with volunteers as a step towards their own independence.

Hosts, their families as well as some young people who have benefitted from Heart and Home came together for a barbecue at Thorpe St Andrews Football Club on Saturday.

While the burgers grilled, youngsters and adults had a kick around on the pitch, while others gathered to chat and share their experiences with the scheme.

READ MORE: Hundreds helped by Benjamin Foundation's Heart and HomeMatt Garrod, the foundation's director of operations, said: 'Today is an opportunity for us to say thank you for the fantastic job the hosts do for us in both Norfolk and Suffolk.

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'Heart and Home is the next step along from fostering and it helps the young people to develop their independence.

'They get help to improve their budgeting, cooking and so on and make that next step towards adulthood.'

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Sue Jones, who lives in Norwich city centre, has been hosting young people for about six years.

Mrs Jones said she would highly recommend the scheme, and said she benefitted as much as the young people.

She said: 'I live on my own so I get to have company, and because they're young they keep me young.'

READ MORE: Norwich Sleep Out the biggest yet as 114 people brave the elements for charityElla Gibbs, 19, who lives in Sprowston, is one of about 10 young people who have stayed with Mrs Jones as part of the scheme over the years.

Miss Gibbs said she loved the experience, and she was still good friends with her former host.

She said: 'Cooking, shopping, decorating, we used to do everything together.'

And the Benjamin Foundation is teaming up with Norwich Evening News and its publications for its annual Sleep-Out event in Norwich.

Volunteers will brave a cold November night to sleep outdoors in the ground's of Archant's Prospect House in Rouen Road to raise money and awareness of the plight of people who are homeless.

To find out more about Heart and Home and the Sleep-Out, visit

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