Celebrations as house for young homeless launches in Islington

A new accommodation scheme for young homeless people offers round-the-clock help and employment training.

Teenagers previously in foster care or without a permanent home have moved into the property in Purley Place which is managed by One Housing Group.

The 10 residents, aged between 16 and 21, must cover their cost of living but receive regular guidance from in-house staff and access to programmes which could lead to apprenticeships.

Cllr Richard Watts, executive member for children and families, who attended the opening event last Friday, said: “Purley Place offers young people the high levels of care and support to meet their individual needs and inspires them to realise their potential.”

The tenants cooked with chefs from the Jamie Oliver Foundation at his Fifteen restaurant and acted on stage during a two-week summer programme at the National Theatre.

Tamika Hyacinth, 18, who was having difficulties at home in Islington beforehand, said: “This has made a massive difference to my life because you still get independence but know that help is there when you need it.”

Tamika, a musician studying in Highbury, who became the first tenant of Purley Place, performed her song Change during the celebration party.

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Molly Parker, 18, who also lives there, said: “It has been great. Everyone gets on really well. It feels like our own Big Brother house.”

The scheme is part of a government initiative where 25 per cent of the value of the contract will be paid to the housing associations when there are positive results. All tenants get a personal development plan.

Rikki Garcia, head of young people services at the group, said: “Some had problems. We are initiating ideas, giving them life skills and helping to build their confidence.”