21-year-old Emma has key to a successful home
Published by KBarnes for New Charter Housing Trust Group in Housing and also in Communities
New Charter's Emma Marsh with Emma Wilde outside her new home
A 21-year-old woman has been handed the keys to her first home after completing a new course designed to help young people manage a tenancy.
Emma Wilde, from Ashton in Tameside, is the first person to secure a home through the course which is being piloted by housing association New Charter Homes.
Before moving into her New Charter flat in Ashton, Emma had been living between friends’ and relatives’ houses while looking for a place of her own in the local area.
She put her name on the waiting list for a property with New Charter who sent her on an eight-week course called ‘Keys to your door’ to get her ready to take on her own tenancy.
The course is aimed at 18 to 25-year-olds who have never owned their own home or tenancy before. It was set up by New Charter to help prevent a large number of failed tenancies among young people.
Over the eight weeks, young people who want a New Charter home are required to complete five of the seven key sessions, two of which are mandatory.
The essential sessions, ‘Make your home work’ and ‘It’s all about the money’, are designed to help first time tenants understand how to be good neighbours and the consequences of antisocial behaviour. They also teach people how to manage their money and household bills with advice on welfare and benefit entitlements.
Other courses are optional and involve lessons in preparing and cooking healthy meals and carrying out basic DIY and decorating jobs around the house.
There are also sessions in first aid, health and wellbeing and advice on getting back into work, with and insight into New Charter’s GREAT Opportunities programme which helps people into further training, education or volunteering.
A total of 16 people attended the first pilot with nine completing the full course taking them a step closer to owning their own tenancy with New Charter.
Since securing a New Charter property, Emma has been successful in getting part-time work at a nursing home and hopes to train to become a youth worker.
She is also helping New Charter to set up a support group for young new tenants and further develop the ‘Keys to your door’ programme before it is launched permanently.
Emma said: “Keys to your door has really helped give me that step up to manage my own home. The budgeting sessions are helping me to manage my money and the practical sessions have helped me to learn new skills that I can use to help me run my home.
“I’ve even wallpapered my own lounge and can’t wait to get the place feeling like my own home. I feel really settled and would recommend the scheme to any young person who wants to get set up in their own home.”
‘Keys to your door’ is delivered completely in-house by New Charter staff and partners including Oldham-based homelessness charity Threshold which is helping to run the cookery lessons.
Emma Marsh, New Charter’s director of communities said: “We were seeing a lot of younger people unsuccessful in taking on their first tenancies with us and recognised that we needed to do more to support them.
“Keys to your door is a helping hand to young people who want to live in one of our homes for the first time and once they have completed the full course they will gain extra points to help them in their search for a property with us.
“The course doesn’t guarantee a home at the end of it but it is designed to ensure that when a suitable home becomes available, first time tenants are fully equipped to run and manage their tenancy successfully.
“We’re incredibly proud of what people who’ve been on the course have already achieved and we will be working with them to develop and improve the course for others.”
The pilot’s second take-up is now underway.