'Within a month they're different people' - The Hartlepool housing scheme making a difference to young parents' lives

A Hartlepool supported housing scheme for young people continued to be there for residents despite the difficulties of the pandemic.

Friday, 3rd September 2021, 4:45 am
Anna Court staff (left to right): Erin Richardson Support Service Worker, Gillian Trotter Support Service Co-ordinator and Rebecca Rees Support Service Worker.

Staff at Anna Court, which supports young people and young parents aged between 16 and 25, have spoken about how they overcame the difficulties of Covid restrictions for a national campaign which celebrates the vital difference supported housing makes to thousands of people every day.

Friday, September 3, is Starts at Home Day, which this year is focusing on support workers’ experiences during the pandemic.

Anna Court is one of a number of extra care and sheltered housing schemes in Hartlepool run by Thirteen Group to help older, disabled or vulnerable people to live independently for longer.

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Gillian Trotter in front of some of the artwork done at Anna Court during lockdown by residents and their children.

Residents at Anna Court come from backgrounds including being in care, having experienced domestic abuse or lacking the life skills needed to live independently.

Gillian Trotter, support service coordinator, said: “One of the things I’m very proud of is when young parents move in sometimes they don’t engage with us and within a month they’re different people.

"I ask them why and they say it’s the first place they have been treated with respect.”

Each Anna Court resident is given a support plan tailored to their individual needs which can include being given parenting skills, help with child protection, budgeting and cooking skills.

During the pandemic staff maintained face to face contact with residents.

And although group activities in the communal room could not take place, staff and residents came up with a number of fun activities they could do from their windows including quizzes, singalongs and bingo.

Free takeaways were also used as an incentive to help residents stick to the guidelines.

Gillian added: “It was a really difficult time for the residents. But we still had a job to do and wanted to do it to a high standard that we normally would.”

Starts at Home Day was launched in 2015 by the National Housing Federation.

Suzanne Halliwell, Thirteen’s Head of Care and Support, said it is important as it shines a light on the difference their teams make.

She added: "We are exceptionally proud of the work that our local teams there have done in continuing to deliver our vital services under exceptionally challenging circumstances.”

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