A HOUSING scheme that supports vulnerable young people has been awarded nearly £500,000 to expand one of its most successful projects.
Bolton Young Persons Housing Scheme (BYPHS) will receive the huge cash boost after applying for a
Big Lottery Reaching Communities grant.
It will plough the money into its CHANCES project – originally dubbed Mentors – which will support
16 to 25-year-olds who have already been homeless and are living in BYPHS’ temporary accommodation,
but are continuing to struggle.
The youngsters are experiencing mental ill health and have suffered a range of difficulties including sexual exploitation, domestic abuse, and bereavement.
Many are care-leavers and extremely vulnerable
BYPHS CEO Maura Jackson was so overwhelmed when she was given the news she burst into tears.
She said: “I was in shock, I was feeling a bit flat but now I’m really excited.
“Our team is just delighted, it’s a tiny portion of the service, we’ve been running it for a while and its been
our most successful service in intervention. Any time we have any staff feedback they say ‘we need more
of this’, we’ve been talking about the need to expand it for years, and now we can.”
The project was originally funded through Comic Relief in 2014 and kept going with additional grants,
including from the Bolton MBC Community Empowerment Fund.
However, without the Big Lottery grant, BYPHS was facing the prospect of having to make redundancies — but now it will be taking on three extra members of staff, to join three existing ones on the CHANCES team. The cash will also go into various running costs.
Ms Jackson says the funding will make a huge difference to the lives of the 180 young people who will
benefit from the funding over the next three years.
She said: “It will be the difference between being accommodated, thriving and being able to move on
and, possibly, sleeping rough and a cycle of homelessness, offending and a risk of harm.
“Statistically, if you’re homeless at any given time the risk of being homeless again is really high. That’s why I work for BYPHS, it’s a chance to intervene before it happens.
“In most cases we touch a person’s life briefly and it doesn’t happen again. They go on to achieve great things — some come back to work for us.
“One girl never forgot things I told her back in 1997, so it does leave a lasting impression. That’s what we want — young people to think it’s a blip in their lives and then they move on. Because, if they don’t, they get stuck in a cycle of homelessness, and it’s a vacuum they can’t get out of.”
THE BOLTON NEWS
Story publisher Nick Statham