A new House Project to provide accommodation for young people leaving council care in Rotherham is expected to be launched for a three year trial this summer, using funding of £370,000 from the Department for Education.
The scheme is expected to use a network of ten former council houses, with some of the cash set aside to pay for refurbishment work before the young tenants move in.
It is aimed to help bridge the gap between children being looked after by the local authority and moving into the adult world at the age of 18, when they are currently expected to take responsibility for their own welfare.
The first House Project was launched in Stoke on Trent and proved so successful the Department for Education decided to replicate it in five other areas, offering the opportunity for Rotherham to take up one of the schemes.
In addition to money for refurbishment of the homes, there will be enough to pay for staff who will help support the young people involved, as they make the transition into running their own homes, including a project manager.
The properties involved have been unoccupied and in future will generate rents, which along with the DfE funding will help to ensure the scheme leaves Rotherham Council with no extra bills.
Coun Gordon Watson told the council’s Cabinet members: “The Department for Education innovation fund provides £370,000. This will need extra staff to help support young people, specifically a project manager, with £150,000 going towards refurbishment costs, depending on the state of the properties.
“There are ten properties and we are not saying we will definitely need £15,000 on each one. The rent will give us some return on that, which is why it doesn’t cost (the council) any money.”