Move On Up is a unique flat share option for carers aged 18-25, who are looking to live independently, while building life skills and focusing on achieving aspirations.
Commonweal has been working with Quaker Social Action, to develop their new shared housing project looking to work with young adult carers.
When Commonweal and QSA researched how well supported young adult carers were with regard to moving into independence, we found no evidence of specific housing provision or targeted initiatives to meet this need. This was confirmed by the Carers Trust, which has a dual role; advocating for the needs of carers to government, and acting as an umbrella organisation to approximately 100 of the 300 local carers organisations, offering practical support on the ground.
Move On Up is open to young adults between the ages of 18 – 25, who are carers or have been impacted by caring responsibilities
Pragmatically, housing for benefit dependent people within this age group has got to be shared accommodation, due to housing benefit restrictions, but there are also advantages and opportunities to sharing. Move On Up looks to explore these advantages whilst exploring the potential for such a project to shape practice and policy.
We are raising over £2M of new social investment funding to acquire flats and houses in east London for QSA to use.
Move On Up looks to test the following hypothesis:
Does a shared housing pathway for young adult carers aged between 18-24 years, alongside empathetic and specialist support, enable:
- The best outcomes for the young people in terms of increasing the future options available to them measured by increased personal sense of wellbeing, education and employment options
- Beneficial planned transition to new care relationships for those being cared for avoiding or minimising emergency or catastrophic breakdown in caring or family relationships
- Likely net positive (financial) benefit to the State in terms of increased education / employment options for YACs and reduced emergency care provision
- Better transition into the private rental sector / independent living
Move On Up is a partnership between Quaker Social Action (QSA) and Commonweal Housing. The project launched in 2016 and aims to develop a shared housing pathway for young adult carers. Individuals are provided with up to 24 months of one to one support relating to their wellbeing needs. Commonweal has provided over £2million of new social investment funding to acquire the flats in east London for the project.
Move On Up currently consists of four properties, all situated in east London, each one housing three people at a time. Each propery is a fully furnished, spacious home with a shared living area.
First steps towards independence
Unlike other Commonweal projects where positive outcomes are seen as a linear forward transition, Move On Up recognises that some young adult carers may wish to return to their home. A positive outcome from the project may therefore be that young people return to their home, but that their support needs are better met and they are doing this from a position of choice. For others this will be their first step towards independent living away from the family home.
The first properties were handed over to QSA in August 2017. For this project Commonweal has engaged the Learning and Work Institute (L&WI) to work as the evaluator – L&WI have been at the forefront of campaigns to highlight the education and employment needs of young adult carers. Commonweal expects the first interim evaluation report of the pilot scheme in early 2018.
I started caring for my mother when I was three years old, but I didn’t realise I was a carer until I was around twelve years old when the social worker to my mother put me in touch with the young carers project.
The impact of being a carer on my personal life whilst I was younger was high; I lost a lot of school friends and it also had an impact on my school. This was because mum was always sick or unable to do things herself. Due to this I had to look after her at home and do the things that she could not do. This ranged from cooking and cleaning to keeping on top of her personal hygiene and dressing her. As I got older this got harder and happened a lot more often.
Because of my caring role my school grades suffered – I know they could have been a lot better than they were. Sometimes it can be hard to tell the person you care for that the reason your grades are bad is because of them, so we have to lie to them so they do not feel so bad. When I was kicked out of university because of bad grades, I had to lie to mum. I failed due to looking after mum and the family on a full-time basis.
When I was in school I had no help from the staff at all. They had the attitude that I should leave the caring for somebody else; they also said that it was not their problem as I was old enough to stand on my own two feet and say I don’t want to care for my family. If I had had even a little support from school or the university I would have been happy, but I didn’t.
The first time I really received any help was when I joined the young carers and the young adult carers project. I received help and support from the staff and also the other carers. Because of this I became very close with some of the other carers and we became the best of friends; we are always there to help each other in any way we can.
* Names have been changed