Care leavers in Leeds benefit from DIY SOS project
During National Care Leavers’ Week, an innovative pilot project by Child Friendly Leeds ambassador ENGIE and Leeds City Council is giving Leeds care leavers a helping hand to live independently.
The scheme, known as ‘DIY SOS’, sees energy and regeneration specialist ENGIE carry out bespoke renovations, including plumbing, joinery, electrical work, plastering, and redecoration to the future properties of individuals moving into independent living. The aim of the scheme is to provide practical support to individuals taking their first steps out of foster care, while still being supported by the corporate parenting team at Leeds City Council.
The first project was completed in March 2019 for 18-year-old care leaver ‘Katie’, who was matched with a one bedroom flat in north Leeds. Through the scheme the property was totally redecorated by a professional painter, who modernised each room ready for new carpets to be fitted throughout. A further 7 properties have since been completed with another 5 to follow in the coming months.
Katie is now at home in her newly-refurbished flat and is absolutely delighted with the results.
In October 2018, ENGIE signed up as a Signatory Partner to the Care Leavers Covenant, which was commissioned by the Department for Education and forms part of the government’s ‘keep on caring’ strategy, which supports people leaving care to live independently.
Claire Preston, Social Value Manager at ENGIE, said: “Giving back to the communities in which we work is at the heart of everything we do at ENGIE, and the DIY SOS project and our commitment to the Care Leavers Covenant are great examples of that.
The regeneration work we do with our partners is not just about the bricks and mortar, it’s about helping to transform the lives of local people. The transition into living independently can be a daunting time for care leavers like Katie, so we’re delighted to be able to provide a helping hand by ensuring their new property is a welcoming home.”
Councillor Fiona Venner, Leeds City Council’s Executive Member for Children and Families, said: “In Leeds, we truly value partnership working and ENGIE’s work supporting care leavers is a fantastic example of how, together, we can make a positive difference to the lives of some of our city’s most vulnerable young people.
"We have a bold ambition to make Leeds the best city for children and young people to grow up in and through working with our amazing network of dedicated Child Friendly Leeds Ambassadors we are really driving this forward. I’m delighted that we will be continuing to work with ENGIE to help support our care leavers as they transition to independent living.”
For media enquiries please contact:
Leeds City Council communications and marketing
Tel: 0113 378 6007
Notes to Editors
National Care Leavers’ Week runs from 28 October to 3 November 2019. It was established in 2002 to highlight the needs of care leavers. Led by independent charity The Care Leavers’ Foundation, it encourages agencies responsible for looking after them to work in a coordinated and effective way. Visit www.thecareleaversfoundation.org/About_NCL_Week
ENGIE is a leading energy and services company focused on three key activities: production and supply of energy, facilities management and regeneration. Their 17,000 employees combine these capabilities for the benefit of individuals, businesses and communities throughout the UK & Ireland.
ENGIE enables customers to embrace a lower carbon, more efficient and increasingly digital world. Customers benefit from our energy efficient and smart building solutions, the provision of effective and innovative services, the transformation of neighbourhoods through regeneration projects, and the supply of reliable, flexible and renewable energy.
ENGIE improves lives through better living and working environments. They help to balance performance with responsibility, enabling progress in a harmonious way. Globally, the ENGIE Group employs 160,000 people worldwide and achieved revenues of €60.6 billion in 2018. Visit www.engie.co.uk