A supported lodgings carer's story:
"We are now in our third year as supported lodgings carers. We began very nervously and feeling a bit uncertain whether we could do the job. Now we have no regrets and really enjoy having young people in our home. The experience has been rewarding but also challenging. As well as seeing changes in the young people we have supported we feel we have changed as well – for the better. It has been a learning experience and we are still learning."
"Probably the biggest challenge is communication and understanding the world that the young person has experienced in the past and the present. Teenagers often have a very interesting and novel vocabulary and the buzz words can change from week to week. We have had to learn new communication skills especially with texting which seems to be the method a lot of young people prefer."
"We have found that young people who have been in care are also very vulnerable and can experience big mood swings for unpredictable reasons. Our challenge has been to keep calm, avoid reacting and to continue to support them even when their behaviour leads to conflict. We are learning that keeping positive and offering lots of encouragement makes a big difference."
"The rewards we have experienced by far outweigh the challenges. Seeing the young people grow in confidence and believing in themselves is great. Having young people in the house has kept us up to date with the latest music, sport and film trends. It’s also nice to receive thoughtful Christmas presents and help with baffling technology which seems to be no problem for them. We have also discovered that many young people have a great sense of humour and one of our lodgers had us rolling on the floor with laughter as she told us about some of her past experiences. But even when they are not able to show any appreciation at all, there is a reward in knowing that you have provided a place of safety, positive experiences and opportunity for the young person to develop and grow."