Barnado’s Jersey

Barnado’s Jersey

There was a misconception in Jersey that Barnardo’s operated on the Island; which was fuelled by the presence of their two charity shops in St Helier.

In fact, it was due to the Philip Gower Charitable Foundation bringing the problems of badly disadvantaged Island children to the attention of Barnado’s UK, that they have now been actively working in partnership for 5 years with the Foundation to help those needing support.

Particular focus has been on local care-leavers, who are among the most vulnerable group in our society and often begin adult life at a huge disadvantage compared to most of their peers.

Working in association with Barnado’s, the Philip Gower Charitable Foundation bought a small hotel in St Helier which was converted into bedsits and small one-bedroom flats, plus lounge areas, a communal kitchen and sun lounge. This building also provides Barnado’s with office space, not only to look after residents, but also as a base for a second service named Plan B. This offers help and support to any desperate youngsters that turn up on the doorstep, who feel that they cannot share severe emotional trauma, including suicidal thoughts, with family, friends or other people in authority.

Thomas House residential home for care-leavers provides an essential ‘stepping-stone’ towards independent living.

Philip commented:Care-leavers, often in their mid-teens, are expected to stand on their own two feet because at the end of their tenure they are literally waved goodbye to – but these are still children, they have not known the same love and support that someone growing up in a family would have done. Often their education suffers so they are not as advanced as others of their age and are being sent out into the big wide world unable to do anything. What are their options? They don’t even know how to approach the States departments to get the support that may be available to them.

Supported Living in the Local Community

Following the success of similar services in the UK, the Trust and Barnado’s have now created the ‘Supported Living’ project for older children who have left care or who are living in unsuitable accommodation, placing them with local host families.

These families will offer their young lodger practical and emotional support and life skills such as cooking, shopping, budgeting, laundry and housework. The families will receive weekly payments and ongoing support, supervision and training. The Philip Gower Charitable Foundation is funding the project for three years after which time, if Barnado’s can prove it has been a success, The States will take it over.

Philip said: ‘These families are very generous and kind- hearted people, they have no idea what problems they may have to face, it’s marvellous that they do it.’

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