Thetford children’s home welcomes first resident

A new children's home in Thetford has taken charge of its first young person since opening at the end of last month.

A new children's home in Thetford has taken charge of its first young person since opening at the end of last month.

Opened by Break, the house can accommodate four vulnerable young people aged between eight and 18-years-old, who are referred by Norfolk County Council.

The 16-year-old, from Great Yarmouth, is now in the care of staff at the home. Although he is currently classed as a a NEET (not in education employment or training), youth workers at the home hope to encourage him to enter a training programme in the near future.

Deputy manager John Cross said he hoped the house could become a home-from-home for the young people.

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'What we'll probably find is they've had a number of different placements,' he said. 'If they're young they'll have been looking at foster care and then if that doesn't work out then they end up moving towards residential. Residential is not seen as the first port of call but at Break we want to see residential as a really positive thing for young people. We want people to live here and make it as homely as we can so they feel this is their home.'

The new home has been refurbished and is the first children's home the charity has opened in six years.

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It has been set up as a medium to long-term facility and residents could stay for several years. It has been renovated to include four bedrooms, one with an en-suite, two bathrooms, a 'chill-out' area, dining room, lounge and kitchen where residents are encouraged to make their own healthy meals.

Older young people will be encouraged to budget for themselves as well as carry out their own chores. Regular meetings are held with the staff and from 18-years onwards, young people are prompted to make their own decisions about what to do and where to go next, with support from Break.

Manager of the Thetford home, Lee Marshall, said: 'I think Break realised there was a need for a more mainstream children's homes which is why they decided to open another one. They hadn't got one located in the south Norfolk area and wanted to be geographically recognised. It will be for children across Norfolk although where possible we do try to make sure the children have consistency in their lives so if they're going to school in Yarmouth, say, they could be transported there.'

Mr Cross added: 'Where we can we try as much as possible to make it like a family home and treat the young people as individuals.'

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