National House Project Conference 2022

National House Project Conference 2022

Posted 1st April 2022

Warwickshire House Project joined the National House Project for their annual conference at the beginning of March which had a theme of ‘Changing the Narrative’.

The conference enabled members of National House Project to speak to local projects, local authorities, charities, OFSTED and The Department for Education (DfE) to show them how they have been able to change the narrative and language around care leavers and how important that is for young people who have experienced being in care.

The House Project approach enables local authorities to support their young people to leave care well. In a social care system that prioritises safeguarding and children in care services it provides an evidence-based and psychologically informed framework that works. It shouts loud and clear that care leavers are worthy of investment and provides the narrative about how to support them well. This hard work has paid off as there are currently 16 local projects who are supporting 380 young people at the moment. The National House project has been recognised by professionals and stakeholders such as the DfE, local authorities, Ofsted, Trusts and Foundations for their positive outcomes. This has enabled the National House Project and the Care Leavers National Movement (CLNM) to meet the Minister, to be at a round table with The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and to be invited to a Royal Garden Party later in the year.

The local projects have enabled staff to be able to reach young people easier, especially the young people who the system had previously classically labelled as ‘hard to reach’ or ‘disengaged’. This approach to practice cuts across the service led labels that sadly reinforce negative narratives and demonstrates that interventions work, and more importantly that young people who are understood do engage, can achieve and are more than the labels they often receive.

Whilst local house projects have made progress in changing the narrative, it is more challenging to get the message across to the general population. Whilst greater concerted collaborative effort across the public and voluntary sectors is needed to ensure that the new narratives are amplified and heard, we cannot underestimate the significance of providing the opportunities and platforms for our brilliant, creative and successful young people to be seen and heard.

Matt Smith, Project Lead for Warwickshire House Project said: “The National House Project Conference was a fantastic celebration of what is possible if Local Authorities have a true child friendly approach. Warwickshire House Project supports every young person by building strong relationships with high levels of support alongside the challenge to take control of their own development.

“This year, we’re working to deliver the project as a countywide offer. This will enable more young people to have the opportunity to take ownership of their futures, have responsibility for something that is their own, build a community of support to offer information, advice, and guidance to make a house their home.”

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