The Future Builders Programme is a unique and exciting opportunity for young people and their communities. Young people who need affordable housing work alongside professional contractors to turn neglected and empty houses into homes.
After the refurbishments, they can move in and enjoy their hard work whilst studying or working.
The Programme, kindly funded by the OVO Foundation, addresses the lack of affordable and appropriate housing options for young people who are looking to move on from living in supported housing services.
But equally importantly, it’s about getting young people the experience of working alongside professionals, getting them into a working frame of mind and supporting and encouraging them towards finding regular employment, either in construction or in some other field.
Once a young person demonstrated their commitment to the Programme, they can rent one of the properties they are working on at a reduced rate - less than half the average for a similar sort of property.
The goal is that a young person will be ready to move onto the next stage of their life within a year, after they have built up their life skills and confidence.
One of the important things about the Programme is that we support and advocate for our young people throughout the whole process. And we see positive outcomes all the time!
It’s a real bridging process, encouraging them to live independently but also giving them the backing they need, especially as they can also access all of our other services.
It’s the sort of Programme which definitely should be rolled out nationally because so many young people across the country are struggling to find both employment and a place to live.
When young people are facing the prospect of paying up to 60p of every pound they earn on accommodation and bills, there is clearly a need for schemes like Future Builders.
One young person actually told me only recently that had it not been for Future Builders he didn’t know what he would have done, especially during the pandemic.
He was working as a nail technician but when salons closed completely for so long he was left with no income and the money he had saved was soon gone.
He became part of the Future Builders Programme, and because we understood what he was going through, we didn’t pressure him with rent. We were there to help him develop new skills and ensure he felt safe.
He’s back working now, he’s moved on to his own place and he’s building up his saving again, which is what Future Builders is all about.
Written by Ray Anderson, Future Builders Coordinator, Roundabout