Training flat in Norwich helps young people get on their feet

Simon George, 17, took an independent living course at Your Own Place and plans to find his own flat

Simon George, 17, took an independent living course at Your Own Place and plans to find his own flat soon - Credit: Archant

Community volunteers filled the rooms of The Training Flat last Friday, paint cans and rollers in hand.

An NCS volunteer coats orange paint on the walls of a bedroom, which will eventually be used as a gi

An NCS volunteer coats orange paint on the walls of a bedroom, which will eventually be used as a giant white board - Credit: Archant

They're working to get the residential flat on Johnson Place up-and-running for September 1.

It will be used as a work space for Your Own Place, a Norwich-based group that hopes to prevent youth homelessness by teaching young people how to successfully live on their own.

Most of the volunteers came from the National Citizenship Service, but one boy among them wasn't.

The 17-year-old's name is Simon George – one of the teenagers in foster care that Your Own Place was created to help – and he showed up on his own volition to paint and tidy up, too

'If I get my own place, skills like painting and fixing up a flat are things I would have to know how to do,' he said. Simon took a Training and Independent Living Skills Training (TILS) course with Rebecca White, the founder and director of Your Own Place, and loved it.

Come September, these independent living courses will be taught at The Training Flat.

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For the most vulnerable youth, who might be homeless, unemployed or leaving care, it will be a permanent place to receive mentoring, employment support and learn what it's like to live autonomously.

'Things are tough out there: rent is high and wages are low,' Ms White said.

'We want to teach young people real-life skills, like how to read the water meter, cook a meal or talk to the landlord.'

Past classes that teach these skills have clearly had an impact on its students.

'I can't give a good enough word for Rebecca's teaching course,' Simon said.

'I'm finishing up a catering course at City College right now and I want to be a chef.

'Next step is finding my own place.

Ms White would like to thank donors for this project, including: Flooring Express, IKEA, B&Q, Leathes Prior Solicitors, Naked Marketing, KFC, No8 Thorpe Road, The Owl Sanctuary, Reality Estate Agency, BT, Barclays Bank, Halfords, Anglian Water, Heath Lodge, Us2U Consulting, Lola Stafford Consulting and other private individuals.

To learn more, visit http://www.yourownplace.org.uk/

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