Vulnerable young people, such as asylum seekers forced to flee conflicts and leave their families behind, have been offered safety, support and shelter with Hightown’s Young People’s Housing Services in Hemel Hempstead.

Hightown recently expanded their Young People’s Services by repurposing a Hemel-Hempstead based property, which opened in August, to provide a fully furnished nine- bedroom home. This accommodation has been earmarked for young people under the care of the local authority. While residents are given their own bedrooms, they are encouraged to socialise within shared communal areas such as living rooms, kitchens and bathrooms.

Many of the current residents are asylum seeking unaccompanied minors from 16-18 years who have fled conflict and left their families behind. The residents are also offered practical support including help with cooking and cleaning and support with education - each of the residents is now enrolled in college courses and English language lessons.

Hightown Chief Executive, David Bogle said:
“Providing shelter, care and support for those in need is at the heart of what we do at Hightown, and the wonderful team at our Young People’s Housing Services represent these values perfectly. The team are doing a wonderful job supporting these vulnerable young people.”

Senior Support Worker Kirsty Bushell said:
“Being forced to flee your home and arriving in a new country is such a traumatic experience, however we do all work with the belief that difficult roads can lead to positive destinations. We’re all fully committed to working hard to ensure that these young people receive the care, support and shelter that they need to help prepare them as best we can for independent living.”

Elsadiqsalim’s story

16-year-old Elsadiqsalim, originally from Sudan was forced to travel to the UK alone after fleeing his home due to Government conflicts. He moved into Hightown’s Young People’s Service three months ago.

The team here are very supportive, particularly because we have Kirsty to help us day to day. She helps us with many different things from our studies to help cooking and cleaning the house

Elsadiqsalim

With support from the staff team, Elsadiqsalim has also enrolled at St Albans’ Oaklands College where he is studying Maths, English Language and ICT. In his spare time he enjoys playing football and with help from Kirsty has now signed up to the Fit4Less gym in Hemel Hempstead. Elsadiqsalim dreams of becoming a mechanic like his father who has remained in Sudan, and hopes to study mechanical engineering at Oaklands College once he has completed his current courses.

Mohammed’s story

17-year-old Mohammed arrived in Hemel Hempstead three months ago after being forced to flee his native Sudan alone – his family are still in the country. Mohammed is also enrolled at Oaklands College, studying English, Maths and ICT.

Kirsty is very supportive. She helps us with our day to day tasks including cooking a variety of food, and cleaning. She also gives us practical support like money and budgeting advice.

Mohammed

Mohammed enjoys playing football in his spare time and socialising with the other residents and playing computer games.