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Help house vulnerable youngsters in Surrey

teenager

6:00am 7th December 2017
(Updated 1:01pm 7th December 2017)

An appeal this festive season to help homeless young people in Surrey - in their time of need...

Surrey Family Service - run by Surrey County Council - is recruiting volunteer hosts who can offer spare rooms to vulnerable youngsters.

The service provides safe and secure temporary placements to vulnerable young people between the ages of 16-21 years old, who are homeless or who need a respite placement whilst family mediation takes place.

The service started in January 2017 and has already recruited 25 hosts who have provided 204 nights of hosting for 50  young people across Surrey. 

It is for a maximum of three nights, on a rota basis.

Expenses are paid at £15 per night.

A spokesperson said: "We have had an overwhelming response from local communities to support young people safely, away from Hostel environments where they are at potential risk, particularly of Child Sexual Exploitation."

The service is now appealing for more hosts to come forward.

Tony from Epsom is a volunteer host. He told Eagle it can make a difference: "If you've got some spare accommodation, give it a go.

"It's not for everybody, you do need to be happy with somebody coming in to your personal space, you need to be an open sort of family.

"It is a contribution you can make with fairly little sacrifice."

Tony said it can make a difference to people's lives:"They're really enjoyable to be with.  Some are less confident talking to adults than others.

"But some have cooked us meals, we have watched football or built bikes together, so it's been an enjoyable experience."

A spokesperson for the Volunteer Host service Debbie Searle said there is a big demand in the area: "Surrey is a huge county - there's 11 boroughs across Surrey - so there's an awful lot of young people within the county.

"There's lots of issues that affect families today - financial strains, mental health, drug and alcohol misuse and just generally family breakdown."

She explained how it helped to have young people accommodated for a temporary period: "So the young person's in a safe environment, while we do some mediation work to support the whole family and try to get them back together again.

"Where young people can't return home, then it gives us time to make assessments and make longer term solutions for them."

If you are interested in offering a temporary home to a young person, email volunteer.hosts@surreycc.gcsx.gov.uk

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