The spotlight of the cost of living crisis typically shines a light on the challenges faced by young families, but vulnerable youth without a family also face the heaviest brunt of the crisis with little support. Young homelessness charity Bardsley Youth Project helps 18- to 25-year-olds living in unstable shelters and needing to cope with homelessness.
The group seeks to empower them to solve their problems through the provision of basic welfare items such as food and clothing, and access to a furniture bank. Last year saw the number of young people it supports increase by almost 75 percent, from 83 to 142.
Project leader Simon Ree said: “Our youth will have to choose between paying rent or putting food in their bellies. They won’t come to us until the bailiffs come to the door. I anticipate that we will see many young people coming to us for bailiffs and many more being brought to court over council tax bills, as this is often the first bill to be dropped.”
Comparing the current situation to the pandemic, Mr. Ree said the cost of living crisis felt like an “unknown”. He said: “Covid was a known entity in that we knew what the problem was so we could fight it and work around it. It would come and then it would go. But we don’t know how it will go with the cost of living crisis.”
The charity is one of those organizations that will be eligible to receive funding as part of our On the Breadline Christmas Appeal, which we organized in partnership with Comic Relief. Mr. Ree said a donation from our initiative will expand the charity’s kitchen packages to help young people with essential appliances such as toasters, refrigerators and kettles.
One of the recipients of this support is Hannah, 22, who described the Bardsley Youth Project as an “adulthood school” after she had a hard time finding help finding accommodation. “They really care,” she said. “When I won’t go to anyone else, I come to them at my lowest point. This place feels like a haven. I can be myself I can just cry and feel the warmth.
Mr. Ree said: “I wish I could record the expression on a teenager’s face when I handed him our kitchen bag. The weight that lifts your shoulders – they literally grow fifteen inches. Thanks to the funding we get from Comic Relief’s donations, we’re able to buy a new one for them. This is a big moment. Nothing new happened in the lives of some of these young people.” The message is strong – they are worth it.