One of the projects Colbe has co-founded is A Place Of Your Own.
A big problem with social housing is when young people get their first property and the expectation that they automatically, as if by magic, know how to run it.
No longer is there any support from the local authority. So problems develop and spiral out of control and fairly soon that young person loses the house. Costs are incurred, confidences lost and future problems are borne.
If you do not grow up in an environment where alarms go off in the morning and people set off for work. Where families sit around a table and discuss how good/bad/indifferent their day was. Where conversations around bank accounts and direct debits are discussed.
An environment where you do not feel safe enough to ask what council tax is, why we pay for water, who do we buy the gas off...
If you are not from that environment, how are you supposed to know?
This information does not automatically arrive just because you chronologically turn 18.
The brown envelope
The official-looking envelope that probably has a bill in it, what to do with it?
Open it - see the big number with the pound sign and panic?
Burn it? Hide it? Stick it straight in the bin?
Who gives you the knowledge that calling the number at the bottom will mean they reduce it as you live alone and gove you all year to pay it? Not only this but they'll be really quite pleasant and help you understand.
A Place Of Your Own matches willing volunteers from businesses to work with these young people. They support them by explaining that bill, by passing on their knowledge that we were lucky enough to get.
The volunteers who meet once or twice a month, chat on the phone, send the odd text message and help give them the skills to get over these barriers that alone would feel immense and huge.
Growing in confidence, they can build a solid foundation, learn how to maintain the house and get on with fulfilling their potential in work or education. Help them be a positive contributor to society.
Society gains, the mentor gains, the mentee gains, everyone is a winner.
Having found the amazing and willing volunteers, I will run a session with them to answer the what/why/when/how/who questions that everyone has.
So now they have the confidence and as the project is running I see the mentors as well as the mentees growing in confidence.
Where is it at now?
Currently running in Lancashire with the amazing M3 Project, soon to be expanding into Greater Manchester.
Contact me if you want to get involved!