Support for young people in and leaving care in Nottingham has won an award from the Chartered Institute of Housing.

Nottingham City Homes (NCH) and the City Council work closely together to provide housing for young people in care, those about to leave care while those who have turned 18 and left care are supported to make sure they can keep their tenancies.

And the support for these young people has led to the two organisations being awarded the Innovation of the Year award.

NCH identified a number of its 28,000 properties and converted these to small group care homes to cater for mainly teenagers. Nottingham City Council has changed the way it accommodates its children in care and is finding the care given in these smaller homes is much more conducive to good outcomes for young people. There are also homes where those about to leave care can live semi-independently before they leave the care of the City Council. Local communities were consulted to make sure they would be welcoming for the young people.

Each of the six homes houses two or three young people. They are supported by City Council residential care workers who help them learn skills for when they leave care, such as cooking and budgeting.

When the young person leaves care at the age of 18, the council’s Leaving Care team, supported by the NCH Care Leavers protocol, gives them the help they need in their new council home. This includes regular visits by care workers, housing patch managers and support and advice on budgeting to make sure they don’t go into arrears, as well as a furnished tenancy scheme. There are plans for a basic DIY course to give the young people skills in this area.

As a result of the support they are given, over 90 per cent of care leavers housed in 2013 by NCH are still in their accommodation.

In addition, NCH has taken on some care leavers as apprentices with two going on to full time roles with the company.

Councillor David Mellen, the City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services, said: “We are committed to maximising the life chances of young people in our care and leaving our care and have significantly changed the way this care and support is provided. It’s great that giving them the best support we can has been recognised in this way. Our arrangements with NCH mean these young people get the support they need at what can be a daunting point in their life.”

NCH Director of Housing Gill Moy said: “In Nottingham we have made sure that vulnerable young people leaving care have the support and help they need in making the transition to adulthood. They know they can rely on support from the two organisations to help them to an independent life.”