New operators for Oxford young people's hostel
Oxfordshire County Council has awarded a three-year contract to specialist housing and social care support provider BCHA / Hyped to run a hostel and daytime activities for young people in Oxford.
The hostel in Iffley Road – to be renamed One Foot Forward following consultation with service users and staff – provides housing related support andemergency 24-hour accommodation for 20 homeless young people aged 16-25.
As well as running the hostel, BCHA / Hyped, whose contract began on February 1, will also introduce a programme of daytime activities, designed to improve the young people’s confidence and self-esteem. BCHA / Hyped will also work closely with the local community and other agencies to provide support for the scheme’s service users.
BCHA / Hyped was awarded the contract following a competitive tendering process, which included interview panels with young people, as well as council officials. The organisation was selected because of its professionalism, ethos, and knowledge and experience of working with young people.
Working in partnership
The hostel, funded by Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council, is often the first point of call for a homeless person aged 16-25. The new service has been designed to have a small number of initial direct access beds for short stays while the young person is assessed for the best place that they should be.
The remaining beds are to be used on a short-term basis for approximately six months while support is given to the service user and action is taken to resettle them to more appropriate longer-term accommodation.
The 24-hour fully-staffed 20-bed facility, which was known as The Bridge, was previously run by The Bridge (Oxford) Ltd, who decided against tendering for the £1m contract.
The service aims to:
- Prevent homelessness and repeat homelessness in young people, and reduce the number of young people who sleep rough
- Provide tailored support to meet the needs of homeless young people
- Enable young people using the service to feel empowered and make positive choices about their futures by promoting quality of life, independence and inclusion
- Enable young people to successfully move on from the hostel
- Work in partnership with other housing, health, social care, benefits, substance misuse and criminal justice agencies to meet the needs of young people using the service
Looking to the future
Councillor Jim Couchman, Oxfordshire Council's Cabinet Member for Social and Community Services, said: "I would like to thank The Bridge Ltd for their efforts and the way they have helped with the smooth transition to BCHA / Hyped running the hostel. We look forward to working with BCHA / Hyped to continue to provide this excellent service.
"The hostel provides an extremely valuable service to homeless young people in Oxford and offers them a real opportunity to get the help that they may require."
Mandy Goodenough, BCHA / Hyped's Head of Children, Young People and Families, said: "BCHA / Hyped is passionate about making a difference to the lives of homeless and vulnerable young people, and we are thrilled to bring our ethos and many years' experience to this vital Oxford service."
Councillor Ed Turner, Board Member for Housing at Oxford City Council, said: "Oxford City Council is looking forward to working with BCHA / Hyped to provide young homeless people in Oxford with a dynamic, high quality service that will give them not only a roof over their heads, but opportunities and access to education, training and employment."
BCHA / Hyped has been helping homeless and other vulnerable people for more than 40 years - including specialist accomodation and advice services for young people - delivering services across a wide geographical area, including Dorset, Hampshire, Salisbury and Reading. This is the first time BCHA / Hyped has undertaken work in Oxford.
Young people can access the services and One Foot Foward by calling 01865 794410.