As it is National Care Leavers Week we asked one of our ‘additional’ residents how he feels about living in our first Care Leavers property #NCLW2020
My name is Hammy. I am a long haired Syrian hamster. I live in a large, comfortable Victorian house. The humans call it a “care leavers project” but we call it “home”. There is a support worker here 24 hours, every day: they keep the young people safe, help them organise their time, get involved in activities and seek to unlock their potential.
My favourite time of day is first thing in the morning. I am woken by the big human shouting, “breakfast!”. The smell of bacon cooking fills the kitchen! There is some rushing around, with packed lunches being made before some of the young people rush off to college or work.
When the noisy young people leave for college, I have a little sleep, the house is very warm and cosy.
I am glad we are all safe and secure in our home. Some of the young people can be very busy. It makes me tired just watching them. One of them doesn’t go to college: I don’t think they know what they wants to do at the minute but the support people ask them lots of questions about what they like to do now and where they want to be in the future. The young person can sometimes get angry, but they always come back to say sorry and then go back to laughing with the staff. We know the young people will often have a day when they are unhappy, but that’s ok. Our home is always a happy, welcoming place where people understand each other.
I don’t really like the music they listen to! It’s too loud and all sounds the same, but they seem to like it! Maybe we have a future singer or DJ in the house?
The support staff are always here, they are always asking about the young people’s day, do they have homework, are they hungry? There are lots of different noises in the house – often from the laundry machines that seem to be constantly running! Sometimes it can be noisy at night, especially when a young person comes home late. The support staff always wait up for them to come home safely. I notice that if the young person comes home very late, then they have to come home earlier for a set period after that – so it doesn’t happen too often.
Some of the young people have friends to visit, they all dress the same and sometimes seem to talk in another language! The support staff talk to the young people about their friends, they ask lots of questions about where they are going and what they are doing to ensure that they stay safe.
I can’t believe how much food the small humans eat! They are always walking past my cage on their frequent trips to the kitchen and they are learning how to cook healthy meals with the support staff (but they do refuse to eat most vegetables!). Some of the young people haven’t had very much experience of many of the different types of food available – so they are discovering new things to cook and taste… but sometimes, they just want pizza!
YMCA Humber opened its first Care Leavers’ property this year to support & accommodate Looked After Children aged 16-17 and young people leaving the care system, in partnership with North East Lincolnshire Council.
Hammy is a loveable addition to live in this home and is cared for by the residents.