Teenage pregnancy rates are high on the Isle of Wight and young mothers at risk of homelessness often lack the support they need. Up until May 2016, there were only four bed spaces for them available on the island. In the past, the council has been forced to place young pregnant women in accommodation off the island, away from the people who are best placed to help them.
YMCA Isle of Wight realised that there was an huge need to support young mothers locally, and with their experience of helping families with young children, knew they could have a positive impact on their lives.
In January 2016, we gave a grant to help YMCA Fairthorne turn an old holiday home on the island into housing for young homeless mothers and their infants. This new family home - named The Lodge - is equipped with eight spacious bedrooms, four shared bathrooms, a communal kitchen and dining room, living spaces and a private garden. The young women living at The Lodge are offered a broad range of support from nursery nurses to lessons in budgeting and cooking.
As of 1st July 2016, there are seven young women living in The Lodge who were formerly homeless, along with three babies. Four more babies are due to be born in the next month.
The YMCA staff are on hand to give the young women emotional support and help with developing their childcare skills so they can become great parents. Over the next month, they will also begin a programme to help them access education, training or employment, meaning they can give their children a more secure future.