Posted on Wednesday 18th August 2021
Hannah and Ric Sentulio
Families interested in helping young people in care move into independent living are being given the opportunity to become a supported lodgings host.
Supported lodgings is an alternative to foster care and offers young people aged 16 to 21 the opportunity to live in a family environment but one in which they are given more independence.
As a supported lodgings host, people will pass on practical skills such as cooking, cleaning and budgeting, which the young person will need when they move out to live on their own.
Hosts will also provide emotional support to the young people as required and help them develop their confidence, build resilience and self-esteem.
Hannah Sentulio has been a supported lodgings host with Staffordshire County Council since September 2018.
Hannah and her husband Ric have already supported one young man who has now gone on to university.
The couple are currently supporting a 17-year-old who will be starting college in September.
Talking about her experiences, Hannah said:
“My husband and I had been wanting to foster for a number of years, but we both enjoy our jobs and didn’t want to give them up.
"This is where supported lodgings was the perfect option for us, as it allows you to work at the same time.
"We’re now getting the best of both worlds.
“We first offered a home to a young person back in 2018 and although it took us all a little time to adjust, we soon settled.
“We have been able to offer a warm and supportive home environment to two young people now who have appreciated it, which is hugely rewarding.
"We have also had the pleasure of watching them grow and succeed in achieving their goals and ultimate independence.
"One of whom has gone on to achieve their goal of going to the university of their choice and living independently.
"To be a part of this person’s journey is a reward that can’t be measured.
“We also have our own children who are still young and living at home too and they also enjoy sharing their home with other young people who can benefit from the experience.
"Being a host is such a worthwhile and rewarding thing to do and I would encourage anyone who thinks they might be suitable to get in touch with the council.
"The advice, support and training from the team is excellent and you’re never on your own.”
Mark Sutton, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People at Staffordshire County Council said:
“Our team of supported lodgings hosts do a great job in preparing children in care for life in the real world.
“Moving out to live on your own can be a daunting experience for many young people in care, so making sure they are confident and resilient and have the skills to do so is key.
"Passing on vital life skills like managing finances and household budgeting are all key skills that ensure young people can make a success of it.
“There’s no ‘typical’ supported lodgings host and all sorts of people can make great hosts.
"As long as you have a spare bedroom and you’re committed to helping a young person realise their potential, you could be just what we are looking for.
"If you think it’s for you, then please get in touch with the team.”
Supported lodgings hosts get ongoing support and access to training from professional staff along with a placement allowance of £180 per week.
The young person will also have their own social worker and/or personal advisor.
People can find out more about becoming a Supported Lodgings host at fosterforstaffordshire.co.uk/supported-lodgings.aspx, or by calling 0800 169 2061.
People can also follow the service on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fosterforstaffs.