Thanks to a grant of nearly one million pounds (£999,889) from the National Lottery Community Fund’s Bright New Futures programme, Taff Housing Association (THA) will run the Taff Shine project to support 190 young parents aged 16-25 in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, to develop good parenting skills. Mark Sheridan, the Director of Support Services & Continuous Improvement at Taff Housing Association, explains why there is a need for such a project . . .
Taff Housing Association is delighted to have this opportunity to make a difference.
Becoming a parent for the first time can be daunting for anyone. If you’re young and single it can be even more so. Add being homeless to that and what should be a happy time becomes stressful and frightening.
The young women in Taff’s Ty Enfys project for homeless young mothers know exactly what that feels like. All of them talked about how they had never expected to become homeless, how afraid they were when it happened for them and how desperately they wanted some support for themselves and their babies.
Margaret is 19 and had had a turbulent life before coming to the project. Experiencing street homelessness and with a
substance addiction from the age of 15, she had a very troubled relationship with the police and many of the agencies she came into contact with. ‘I couldn’t think about the future – I was just concentrating on getting through today’ she said. At Ty Enfys she turned her life around. ‘I’ve made friends here and my confidence has grown – personally and as a parent.’ Now she’s looking forward to moving on and living independently and is very happy that the Shine Project will be there for her: ‘It’s good to know that I can get support in the future if there’s something I can’t deal with.’
What all the young women liked most about the Shine Project is that, whether they’re homeless or in danger of becoming homeless, it’s something they can turn to throughout the changes and milestones in theirs and their children’s lives, getting support when they need it and in the way they want it. Taff’s Shine Project will come to their homes and give hands-on parenting support if that’s what’s needed; offer drop-in sessions at places they can get to; set up groups where they can get support from other young mums and dads and get practical advice and support to become confident, nurturing families. Having something for the dads was also something they’re looking forward to using – either as a couple or having activities that give them the chance to have ‘dads only’ time with their children.
When asked what their hopes were for the future, all the young parents talked about being a confident parent, getting a job or back into education, having a nice home and a happy family life and providing a better future for their children. Thank you National Lottery players for helping make this happen.
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