Why young adult carers?
There are 240,000 young adult carers, aged 18-24 in the UK. A quarter are not in education, employment or training, and the same proportion do more than 20 hours of caring per week, with 12% doing more than 50 hours a week. Young adult carers themselves talk about a 'burden of maturity' leaving them isolated, struggling with money problems and subject to bullying.
What choices do young adult carers have upon leaving home?
Before we launched Move On Up, young adult carers we spoke to told us that they needed to continue caring, but had reached a point where they could not or did not want to live in the family home anymore. While every journey is different, we've seen that there are two major reasons for this. Either they have had to move out of the family home due to a relationship breakdown with the person they care for, or they feel like they cannot progress with their own life while living where they are.
Young adult carers have been coming to us because they are unable to find housing elsewhere. As single young people without high support needs, they are being told by social housing providers that there are no options available to them. In the private rented sector, our tenants have found it incredibly hard to find something affordable.
WE WANT TO LIVE INDEPENDENTLY AND GET THE SAME LIFE CHANCES AS OTHER YOUNG PEOPLE.
- YOUNG ADULT CARER TALKING IN FOCUS GROUP
Why supportive housing?
When we spoke to young carers before launching Move On Up, a common request was for support and guidance to make the transition into independent living easier.
The Move On Up team supports housemates to maintain good relationships with each other and to deal with the practicalities of maintaining a tenancy, whilst identifying and working towards their goals for the future. We want them to be able to find their feet, decide what they want for their future and move on into independent living.
Move On Up is a collaboration with Commonweal Housing and Carers Trust. It's also the first time we've used social investment as a vehicle for a project, with substantial investment from Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, City Bridge Trust, and Cheyne Social Property Impact Fund.
Move on Up's impact so far
Move On Up is a small scale project running during 2017-2023, with the aim of becoming an exemplary model of how to help young adult carers transition into independent living. In 2018 the project was shortlisted for a Guardian Public Service Award.
The first three years of Move on Up were evaluated independently by the Learning and Work Institute. The Institute's final report found that the project is having a positive impact on residents, including providing respite from caring, improved relationships with family members and improved outcomes in learning and employment. The report identified that young adult carers are at a higher risk of becoming homeless or being in insecure living arrangements, yet previous research has found that no other housing project specifically for this group exists.
We are sharing our learning from the project with organisations that might benefit from our knowledge, as we believe that there are many more young adult carers who would benefit from a supportive housing approach.
“Our evaluation [of Move on Up] shows that shared housing, alongside specialist support, can help provide a pathway to independence and give young adult carers the opportunity to lead full and active lives. The Government must ensure young adult carers’ housing needs are met, along with improving access to learning and work, including by reviewing the Carers’ Action Plan.”
Stephen Evans, Chief Executive of Learning and Work Institute