South Tyneside homeless charity Key Project opens seven new supported living cottages to meet surge in demand

A South Tyneside homeless charity is expanding to meet a surge in demand for its services following the pandemic.

The new supported living cottages at Askins Lodge, Hebburn. Photo credit: KEY Project
The new supported living cottages at Askins Lodge, Hebburn. Photo credit: KEY Project

Youth homeless charity the Key Project has opened an additional seven supported living properties at its flagship project Askins Lodge in Hebburn.

The seven, single occupancy cottages – attached to to the main 17-bed residence - will extend the range of accommodation available to meet the needs of young people presenting as homeless, as well as the number of beds.

Families already at breaking point have experienced immense additional pressure under lockdown, with some young people trapped in desperate situations, subject to domestic violence, mental and physical abuse and in need of safe housing.

The new terraced cottages will provide a stepping-stone between supported accommodation and independent living, where residents can benefit from ongoing support and 24-hour staffing.

They will also be supported to be in education, employment, training, or undertaking voluntary work to help them move forward.

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Key Project’s executive lead, Ross Allen, commented: “Askins Lodge, serving the whole of South Tyneside, has been a huge success and gone some way to addressing the shortage of accommodation for vulnerable young people in our community.

“The need for urgent intervention was the impetus for the opening of the cottages, to ensure that during these unprecedented times, no vulnerable young person in South Tyneside was left abandoned, unable to access support. Key has overcome numerous logistical challenges to accomplish this, which is testament to the dedication of our frontline staff.”

He added: “With the acquisition of these cottages, we can extend our provision and help those young people with a wider range of needs, all on one site. We are now able to provide supported and semi-supported accommodation; emergency beds for those with immediate need; temporary accommodation, for up to six weeks, for young people in conflict with their parents and/or experiencing family breakdown while our designated mediation suite is available for use by both residents at Askins as well as for other young people and their families in the wider community.”

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