© South Ribble Borough Council 2019

VIP visit for Leyland homeless charities

TWO Leyland charities which help vulnerable youngsters get back on their feet were paid a visit by the High Sheriff of Lancashire this week.

SLEAP, which helps match homeless people with host families, and Barnardo’s Bay 6 Project, which offers accommodation to 16-25 year-olds, were visited by High Sheriff Robert Webb, in a trip hosted by Mayor of South Ribble Councillor Mick Titherington.

Tony Crawford, Chair of Trustees at SLEAP, based in Leyland Lane, introduced the visitors to young adults who have had their lives steered back on track by the scheme.

Stacy, 22, has found a place to live, a job, and has built up her skills since being involved with the charity. She said: “The guys at SLEAP are down to earth; they make us laugh and have helped me a lot. I’ve been able to achieve so much and they’ve been very good to me.”

At Bay 6, the party heard how homeless youngsters are given a place to sleep in private bedrooms, but also have use of shared communal areas. The charity offers support in everything from finding a job to cooking and the youngsters are also taught practical life skills such as dealing with bills.

Liam, 18, became a father while living at Bay 6 accommodation in Leyland. He told the visitors: “Bay 6 really helped me deal with becoming a father and all the things I needed to know and do. I’ve been here since 2016 and the team have been absolutely wonderful.”

Oliver, 17, has recently won the very first Bay 6 ‘Resident of the Month’ award. He said: “There’s a very positive culture here. We all feel safe and able to speak out about how we’re feeling. It quickly became my home and we’re all a big, slightly weird family! But it’s the best kind of unconventional family.”

Jenny Ashcroft, Children’s Services Manager for Barnardo’s in Lancashire, said: “It’s all about giving these young people the belief that they can do things. The project has a huge impact on their lives and I’m glad that, for many of them, Bay 6 really does feel like home.”

Mayor of South Ribble, Councillor Mick Titherington, said: “It’s important that we recognise some of the great work that is going on in our borough and it was a pleasure to show the High Sheriff some examples. I am sure that, like me, he was impressed with what he saw.

“The philosophy at Bay 6 and SLEAP is one of mutual respect, developing life skills and empowering young people to make their own decisions. The most uplifting part of everything I've heard today is that at these places, people get the help they need and come out the other side, better off. Good luck to all and keep up the good work.”