Teenage boy frying bacon

How Barnardo’s helped give Paul stability and independence

Paul* grew up in care in Scotland and had multiple foster care placements throughout his childhood in various different parts of Scotland. Living in a Barnardo’s Gap Home has helped give him stability and independence. 

Adjusting to moving out after being in care 

“I had been in many foster care placements throughout my life”, Paul explains. “My last one broke down with the family so I was moved into a homeless hostel. It wasn’t a suitable environment and thankfully my social worker referred me to Barnardo’s.”  

Moving out for the first time is a learning curve for any young person. But it’s even harder if you’re a young person leaving care.   

There's a lot to think about, from budgeting to furnishing your home, and that’s all before you even find your new home.   

How Barnardo’s helped through the Gap Homes project 

To help tackle the problem, a few years ago we started our  Gap Homes project – an innovative project that offers homely, affordable housing for young people leaving care.   

Barnardo's Gap Homes are self-contained homes which provide a safe and sustainable environment where young people can learn skills such as cooking and budgeting, to support their independence and bridge the gap between care and permanent tenancy.  

If you’re a young person without parents to help you it can be very difficult. You face challenges like loneliness and not having enough money to see your friends. Even basic items can be too expensive.


“Before I started getting help from Barnardo’s, I didn’t know how to run my own flat. I wasn’t sure how to pay for bills or the best way to cook for myself. One of the useful things my Barnardo’s project worker did was help write a list of all my potential outgoings and costs for when I have a place of my own.”  

Everything is very expensive due to the high cost of living, but Barnardo’s has provided me with supermarket vouchers, so I’ve been able to do a food shop on occasions when this has been difficult.


“Barnardo’s can do a lot of things which young people who’re struggling might not be aware of. The charity can help not just with accommodation and the cost of living, but can provide support with education, employment, training and skills. The support I have received from Barnardo’s Gap Homes has also helped with my mental health.   

When I’m feeling low, I know my project worker is there to give me encouragement and advice. I’ve been able to meet other young people supported by Barnardo’s through group activities such as cooking."

Looking to the future 

“Barnardo’s provides support for my tenancy, but I know eventually I’ll have to do this myself. Gap Homes aim to help you get to that positive point where you’ve had time to learn and experience living independently.”  

Gap Homes also helps you develop a plan with goals that you can aim for. I’m currently studying at college. My plan is to begin a career in the airline industry as cabin crew. I like meeting new people and would like to eventually travel the world.  

Because my course is full-time, I’m not able to work and there have been times when I have run low on money. Through Barnardo’s I was also able to get a laptop which has been vital for my studying.      

Life can be challenging for young people who are leaving care, but Barnardo’s can make a real difference. I’m very grateful to Barnardo’s Gap Homes for all the help they have given me.” 

*Name of young person has been changed to protect their identity. 

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