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More support for young asylum seekers in Wiltshire | News

Wiltshire Council has agreed an investment of more than £12m

Wiltshire Council headquarters in Trowbridge

Author: Jason BeckPublished 40 minutes ago

Wiltshire Council leaders have agreed the next steps to provide supported accommodation and residential care homes for young people with care experience and young people seeking asylum in Wiltshire.

There are currently 340 care-experienced young people in Wiltshire, including asylum seekers and young people with disabilities.

These are in a wide range of accommodation options, often more expensive than necessary due to current market pressures and often in supply outside of Wiltshire.

There are 96 young people with care experience living in supported accommodation. 57 of them are unaccompanied young people seeking asylum.

80% of unaccompanied young people seeking asylum live outside Wiltshire, compared to 41% of young people not seeking asylum.

The council agreed an investment of more than £12 million to provide the homes and now the cabinet has agreed to undertake procurement exercises to identify providers to operate the new supported homes.

On 20 February, the Full Council approved a capital investment of £10.560m to provide homes for 68 care experienced young people and asylum seekers and £1.6m to provide residential children’s homes for children in need complexes in Wiltshire.

This funding will enable the council to provide accommodation providers and commissions.

At its meeting on May 7, the Cabinet agreed to undertake two procurement exercises to commission external Ofsted registered providers with both contracts running for five years, with the option to extend for a further five years.

The additional supported accommodation capacity will allow young people with care experience and unaccompanied young people seeking asylum to remain in Wiltshire, close to their communities and support networks.

The additional capacity of the children’s residential home will also meet the current and future demand to support children with complex needs.

As well as providing a stable and supportive environment for young people, investing in additional capacity will also save costs, as many young people are currently placed in a variety of accommodation that is more expensive than necessary due to market pressures.

Laura Mayes, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “This additional investment for care experienced young people, unaccompanied young people seeking asylum and residential accommodation for young people from these groups with complex needs means we can provide stable accommodation and support to meet current and future demand.

“This investment will improve outcomes for young people through improved accommodation close to communities, education, transport links and workplace opportunities. It is also part of our preventative approach to council finances, investing money now to save higher costs in the future from expensive private costs. and out-of-county placements.

“This investment will empower our young people to live full, healthy and enriched lives, which is a key priority in the successful approach of our business plan. It also follows our guiding themes which are woven throughout the approach we take to delivering ‘prevention and early’ services. intervention’ and ‘improving social mobility and combating inequality’.

“Crucially, this accommodation means more young people can stay in Wiltshire, close to their communities, friends and support networks established with council services. This continuity is key for young people to be successfully independent in terms of their health, wealth and emotional well-being.

“We are passionate about our role as corporate parents and this investment in high-quality accommodation will help us ensure that young people with care experience have the springboard they need to reach their full potential as they reach adulthood and leave the care environment”.

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