Vulnerable young people in Guernsey will continue to be supported thanks to a five-year contract extension, which includes the continuation of a seven-bed training accommodation service.
The extension of the contract between States of Guernsey, the Health Improvement Commission and Action for Children will also provide support around substance use and independent living skills.
Health Improvement Commission Substance Use Lead, Andrea Nightingale, said the service was “essential” for vulnerable young people.
Pictured: Action for Children mostly supports vulnerable young people aged 16 to 25.
“The service provided by Action for Children is extremely important for the island. The majority of young people who walk through the door are self-referrals, which shows the confidence that they have that this service can help them,” said Ms Nightingale.
“We provide a one-stop-shop service where a young person only needs to explain their story once and we can then prioritise their needs and offer them all the support required.”
Ms Nightingale said that the organisation supports around 140 vulnerable young people each year.
“There are many reasons why a young person may be in need of help, there might be a reason they can’t stay at home and so they need accommodation, or they have experienced so much trauma that they need support in establishing themselves and learning life skills,” she said.
Pictured: Around 140 young people in the Bailiwick are supported by Action for Children each year.
Ms Nightingale continued: "Housing and independent living skills are important enablers of young people’s health, alongside embedded support for substance use and so we are delighted that our close partnership work with Action for Children and the Committee for Employment & Social Security will continue to support young people’s short and long-term needs.”
Action for Children’s practitioners work directly with young people to develop their skills in areas such as personal care, budgeting and cooking. The service users will then transition to managing their own property with the service providing additional support to maintain this.
Occupancy of the flats is limited to six months, unless in exceptional circumstances, for example if the young person is under 18 and would be unable to move to private accommodation until they are 18.
The new contract will ensure the continuation of this service until December 2026.
Pictured: Andrea Nightingale said Action for Children provides "an essential service" for vulnerable young people.
Committee for Employment & Social Security President, Deputy Peter Roffey, said it was “fantastic” to have the new contract in place.
“It is important that we’ve had the opportunity to review what is delivered as part of this contract to make sure that people’s needs are being met,” he said.
“We are grateful to Action for Children for the brilliant work that they do in supporting young people and it’s great to be able to partner with them.
“I am certain that many people would be able to attest to the significant role that this charity has played in their lives.”
Ms Nightingale echoed Deputy Roffey’s comments: “Some young people return to the service, sometimes with young families of their own, to thank us for the support and show us that they have healthy relationships and are living happy, successful lives,” she said.
“Moments like that are when you can see that all the hard work and commitment really is worthwhile and it does make a difference to the community.”
Pictured: Deputy Peter Roffey said his Committee was delighted to continue its support of the service.
Children’s Services Manager, Aaron Davies, added: “Action for Children has a long and successful history of delivering effective services for young people in Guernsey and we are delighted by this renewed commitment from the Committee for Employment & Social Security and the Health Improvement Commission.
“It will allow our services to continue providing support for young people in the areas of homelessness, independent living and substance use over the next five years.
“This support ensures we can continue to work towards our vision that every child and young person in Guernsey has a safe and happy childhood, and the foundations they need to thrive.”
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