Vital new accommodation for young people leaving care in Angus has been hailed as an “excellent” resource in preparing them for independent living.
With funding from the Scottish Government, Angus Council has brought an unoccupied block of flats back into use by creating four self- contained flats at Millgate Loan in Arbroath.
The council’s children and learning convener Sheena Welsh said the flats were already proving their worth.
Councillor Welsh was joined on a visit to the accommodation by fellow Arbroath East and Lunan councillor and communities convener Donald Morrison.
The young residents of the flats are supported on site via a training flat and office accommodation for the throughcare and aftercare team, with a concierge system operating at night and weekends.
The aim of the resource is to improve the outcomes for care leavers when they make the transition from the care system to independent living.
“The accommodation has been operating since mid-summer and is proving to be an excellent resource,” Mrs Welsh said. “The flats help young people to take control of their own lives and develop the necessary skills for an independent life, such as budgeting and household management skills.
“It also reduces the potential for young people to struggle or fail to adapt to a life beyond the care system and reduces the costs of managing a situation where a young person has failed to cope with what is a major step in their life.”
The training flat allows young people who are in care at the moment to spend short periods of time experiencing independent living.
It is anticipated that tenancies, allocated via a multi-agency group, will last for between six and 12 months.
Allocation is based on the young person’s needs and whether they would benefit from the type of support provided at Millgate Loan.
The council said evidence indicates that it is unrealistic to expect all young people leaving care to support themselves independently.
Many require a period of support, care and guidance to learn the skills needed to manage their own home.
Mr Morrison said: “Clearly every individual is different and there is no one single or simple solution when supporting a young person to make the transition from care to a life lived independently.
“But this new facility provides those who need it with a more protected environment that allows them to develop their skills and self-confidence, and will make a significant difference at a crucial stage in their lives.”