The National House Project
We supported the scale-up of a local project to become a national charity The National House Project, which supports care leavers into independence by building their skills, creating a community and helping them renovate and move into their first home.
Supporting the growth of a local project to become a national charity for care leavers.
The Care Leaders were asked to support The House Project, a project originally funded by the Department for Education Children’s Social Care Innovation Fund to support young people leave care. After a successful pilot programme in Stoke-on-Trent, the project was awarded second phase funding to grow the programme nationally.
Over 18-months we supported the:
- Establishing of The National House Project Charity – working alongside the founding members of the House Project, we took a local project and made it a national charity.
- Project scale-up– The House Project started with 1 local authority and 10 care leavers, we supported to scale up the project to 6 local authorities and 60 care leavers.
- Implementation support – we supported each local authority implement the house project so they could offer better support to young people leaving care.
- Engagement with care leavers – ensuring care leavers were engaged in the project development and accessed training to build skills and confidence.
A board of leaders committed to change.
The Care Leaders worked on a board alongside a senior education specialist who founded The House Project, a management consultant who provided the strategic scale-up knowledge and charity & business consultant who was able to guide us to the right legal structure.
Scaling-up The House Project
The first phase of the scale-up was to identify and meet with local authorities and pitch The House Project to them.
Using our network we were able to identify additional local authorities willing to take on the project. This required children’s services to work in partnership with their housing providers to identify housing and give young people the opportunity to renovate it prior to moving in as tenants. It also required leaving care teams to develop an application process that was fair and impartial, enabling young people to apply for the programme.
6 Local Authorities
As a board we identified 6 local authorities to scale-up the house project with.
Pitching the Project
The House Project requires buy-in from the leaving care service and housing provider to implement the project. Ensuring care leavers have a house to renovate before they move in.
Identify 60 Care Leavers
Each local authority had to identify 10 care leavers and ask them to pitch to be on it, giving them ownership over whether they wanted to take part.
Training for care leavers to teach them how to pitch, be persuasive and know their power.
After identifying 10 young people from 6 local authorities, young people were asked to ‘pitch’ to be on The House Project. This was to give them ownership and choice whether they wanted to take part, build their skills and confidence and start to bring young people together to create a community.
We engaged with young people and provided training to support them to learn how to pitch, understand their power and lead with purpose. This training was called ‘Power Pitch and Purpose’.
Training – Power, Pitch and Purpose
Teamwork – Understand your team’s personalities, complementary strengths and how you will work together.
Communication – Describe a project clearly and what is special about it.
Persuade – Know about how to persuade someone to do or pay for something.
Pitch – Plan a pitch, tried it out and be ready for the real thing.
Improved outcomes for care leavers
The project included a focus on identifying young people who were at risk of a ‘cliff edge’ at 18, in residential high-cost placements and provide them with the opportunity to leave care supported by The House Project. We saw a no tenancy breakdowns, increases in engagement in education and employment opportunities and the young people reported feeling settled and part of a community.
No tenancy breakdowns
We saw no tenancy breakdowns for care leavers on the project
Increased education and employment
Young people engaged more in education and employment activities then they did pre-project.
Settled young people
Young people reported feeling settled and part of a community.
Reduced high-cost placements
The project reduced high-cost, low-impact placements that were supporting care leavers.
Establishing The House Project as a national charity.
After 18 months of supporting the programme a charity was established, now known as The National House Project. After recruiting a CEO and Social Care Lead, The Care Leaders were asked to take on a further piece of consultancy to establish a young people’s steering group. The purpose of the steering group was to guide the charity, give feedback to the CEO and trustees and to be active participations in engaging and representing young people on the project. This became known as The Care Leavers National Movement, and you can read about this in the ‘previous work’ section on our website.
Sustainable exit strategy
Since the establishment of The National House Project as a charity it has grown to support 15 local authorities and over 150 care leavers.