Recycling Lives charity embraces education opportunities for homeless students

Recycling Lives is set to expand its charity programme by facilitating a new student accommodation facility for homeless young people.

From January 7th 2013, the new Student Care project will provide young homeless people with comfortable, modern accommodation in a secure environment and the strong support network they need to navigate a path into further education. Using a holistic approach to welfare, the project team will offer professional support to students on an individual basis, giving them up-to-date advice on their education, career development and personal wellbeing, and acting as a valuable networking resource by signposting students to relevant services, opportunities and organisations within Preston and the surrounding area.

Operated by Preston College in conjunction with Barnado’s, the Student Care project will feature student accommodation at the Recycling Lives centre on Essex Street, comprising ten single bedrooms with en-suite bathroom facilities and a 24-hour support service, which will be available to residents seven days a week. The new facility will also contain a laundry room, a TV lounge, an IT suite and a gym. The project will also have a three-bedroom emergency accommodation facility for students who find themselves in need of immediate assistance – homeless or in danger within the community, for example.

One of the key points that Student Care at the Recycling Lives Centre will address is the lack of secure student accommodation during the summer months, when many University halls traditionally close. The Student Care centre will remain open and fully operational for twelve months of the year, reflecting the opening patterns of local education institutions like Preston College.

In terms of personal security, the Student Care project will run on a zero-tolerance basis: the use of illegal substances and alcohol are already strictly prohibited at the Recycling Lives centre and students at the Student Care facility will be expected to adhere to the same rules, helping to ensure the safety and security of their fellow residents.

It is hoped that the facility will help to prepare students for independent living by encouraging them to work together as a community to keep their rooms and communal areas clean and tidy. There will also be a nightly curfew of 11.30pm on weekdays and students must not be under the influence of any illegal substances or alcohol on their return to the accommodation; the night concierge will not allow anyone into the building if they are considered to be a danger to themselves or others within the project.

Mark Channing, Recycling Lives’ Charity Manager commented on the upcoming project, saying:

“We’re really excited to commence with Student Care project at the Recycling Lives Centre. Particularly in this fragile economic climate, getting into the world of higher education is proving a stressful experience for many young people – and that’s when they have all the support they need.

“For those students who perhaps find themselves without the assistance they need, the Student Care team at the Recycling Lives Centre will be the ideal safety net, guiding them through the maze of higher education and ensuring they make the most of the opportunities that are out there.

“By applying everything we’ve learnt from working to help vulnerable people back into full-time work and independent living – and by keeping the channels open with the great local organisations that support young people –we’re absolutely convinced that we can instil the Recycling Lives ethos in the young people who take part in the Student Care project and help them to make the choices that work for them, right from the outset.”

In addition to providing student accommodation, the Student Care project is also designed to act as a further pathway for Residents at the Recycling Lives charity, offering them the option to move on to full-time education before pursuing full-time employment. By adhering to a flexible and integrated framework, the Recycling Lives Student Care programme is set to become a valuable safety net for young people across the North West.