10,000 young people leave care every year. Many have nowhere to turn if things go wrong. One in four will end up homeless. Andrews Charitable Trust is using its loan to give care leavers a better future. Find out how.
Leaving home should be a positive experience, but for care leavers that’s often far from the case. A lack of support and suitable properties means that one in four care leavers will end up sofa surfing or sleeping on the streets. Many of these young people have already experienced trauma and have nowhere to turn for help or advice.
Andrews Charitable Trust set up Establish back in 2016, to support young people leaving care. The goal is to provide 50 move-on properties within 50 years. As well as having a safe home, tenants will be offered mentoring, apprenticeships and extra support through local youth focused charities.
Andrews bought the first four Establish properties using its own reserves. These properties are owned by the trust but leased and managed by a youth services charity partner. Andrews wanted to trial a new model, one that could be rolled out by other small charities. To do that, it needed loan finance.
Andrews approached several banks and building societies but none could grasp what the charity wanted to do. Nathan Moore, Director/Trustee at the Trust told us,
“It was like banging our heads against a brick wall as lenders found it hard to understand the operating model in particular the financial returns with the project providing affordable accommodation at below market rent. We then we approached Charity Bank, and it was a case of, ‘Yes, fine, no problem, we can do that. We believe in your model; we believe in you.’”
Andrews used its loan to buy four new properties – two in Bristol, one in London and one in Oxfordshire. Each property has three or four bedrooms and will house a mixture of young men and women between the ages of 18-25 who have been under the threat of homelessness and also have some additional support needs.
Nathan shares, “Some of our tenants had been sofa surfing. One slept in a cupboard under the stairs at his mum’s due to a lack of space in her flat. The majority of these young people have gone through physical and emotional trauma. And I know this from my own experience of being a care leaver. When he left care, he was put into a dirty bedsit with only £35 and told to ring the local council to claim benefits with no further guidance on what the next steps would be.
“Care leavers often lack the basic skillsets that people gain by having a family unit – things like budgeting and caring for themselves, an understanding of what a healthy relationship looks like, and so on. They’ve had no reliable and consistent support network. But now young people supported by the establish project have just that! plus help to get into work, training or further education.
“We've had around 40 people go through Establish so far. One who really stands out is a young person that I have had the pleasure of mentoring for 2 years. When I first met her, she was extremely shy and had very little confidence due to previous emotional trauma. The establish home has given her stability, which has given her an abundance of confidence. She enrolled on a social work course, became a social worker, left the Establish house to rent a home with her boyfriend, and she's happy and flourishing. That’s exactly what the project is all about – helping vulnerable young people to integrate into society. I'm really proud of being a member of the board of trustees who have embraced innovative new ideas to support vulnerable young people that will enable them to thrive. And I'm really proud of Charity Bank for believing in us.” This makes me personally proud of the project.
“I’d absolutely recommend Charity Bank. They understand loan financing for charities, and they're not fazed by new ways of doing things.”Siân Edwards, Executive Director of Andrews Charitable Trust
“This house means a lot to me. I feel really safe and secure, and have just finished my college course.”Kieran, an Andrews Charitable Trust establish tenant
About Charity Bank
Charity Bank is the loans and savings bank owned by and committed to supporting the social sector. Since 2002, we have used our savers’ money to make more than 1,100 loans totalling over £400m to housing, education, social care, community and other social purpose organisations.
Nothing in this article constitutes an invitation to engage in investment activity nor is it advice or a recommendation and professional advice should be taken before any course of action is pursued.