Hull volunteers provide 'innovative' service for care leavers

“Innovative” young staff are to thank for Hull City Council’s initiative to feed hundreds of care leavers in the community.

Staff at Hull Council came up with the idea

The council’s walk-by food hub provides a week’s worth of food at a time to young people in Hull who need support after leaving the care system.

While most young people in the city have relatives who are able to look after them if they’re forced to self-isolate, some care-leavers have no family to turn to in times of need.

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The walk-by service has been set up by Hull City Council’s Room 42 team, a care leavers’ hub based at The Guildhall, and the 16-25 Team at Kenworthy House.

Items can be collected at the window to ensure social distancing advice is followed.

Delivery can also be arranged for those who are isolated or unable to travel.

Mark Jones, the council’s director of regeneration and lead officer for care leavers said the idea came from the “innovative” young staff who have all experienced care.

He said: “Lots of care leavers thrive without us because they’ve had a lot of support from foster parents and they go off to uni.”

He added that the council’s three care workers all have personal experience of leaving the care system which meant they thought “outside the box” for ways to support young care-leavers.

He said: “It’s about making sure they’re well provided for in their diet and have everything they need in isolation. We want nobody to go without.”

One of the staff approached Yorkshire-based supermarket Morrisons, which sent a truck-load of essentials.

Mr Jones said: “We’ve had an enormous amount of support from local organisations and businesses.”

Currently about 14 or 15 young people use the service every day but this is steadily increasing. However, Mr Jones said the council’s efforts were stepping up too.

The programme is part of a range of initiatives across Hull which are aiming to keep people together and ensure that they are safe during lockdown.

A new phone line staffed by volunteers, the Hull Helpline, has had 8,000 contacts in its first two weeks, helping residents access food, medical care and other supplies.

“It’s working really well,” Mr Jones added.

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