The Host Family Supported Carer Service are looking for people who can offer a place to live to young people (aged 16+) who arrived in Scotland unaccompanied. Could this be you?
As a Host Family Supported Carer, the support you provide can help a young person settle, recover and flourish in Scotland, and enrich your own life too.
The service – coordinated by Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership – has organised two online Open Nights for anyone who is interested in finding out more. The open nights will take place on Thursday 20 May and Thursday 17 June, 7-8pm.
We heard from a host family carer who began supporting a young person during lockdown.
“The details were heartbreaking and the decision was easy.”
There was no time to overthink it. It was an emergency case, a boy who escaped from his traffickers and had been found by the police in Glasgow. The details were heartbreaking and the decision was easy. My lad arrived 3 hours later, accompanied by 2 social workers and a plastic bag with a toothbrush and a change of clothes. There was a call with a translator, to explain to him what was happening and then the social workers left, and it was just us.
I’m sure neither of us really knew what to do next, but in the absence of a plan, I just did what I would with anyone else who came to stay; show them around and try to make sure he had everything he needed; a towel, a glass of water, a smile. Having a dog was a bonus. She liked him straight away and he liked her too. I left them getting to know each other and made dinner. I used Google translate to tell him a few things about me and the dog while we ate. I didn’t press him about himself, he clearly wasn’t ready.
He was obviously exhausted so I suggested he go up to bed. Then I watched him walk round the house, checking the doors were locked and looking fearfully out of the window. He asked me, “Is it safe. You are not afraid?”. The question and the thought off him alone in a B&B in this state broke my heart. I told him this was his home now, and yes, he was safe in it. He had nightmares anyway, but it was a start.
“Google translate is your friend – use it!”
The language barrier is not an issue. Google translate is your friend – use it! For me, the fact that H couldn’t speak English but wanted to, helped us to connect. Instead of awkward silence, our dinner conversation for the first week or two mostly consisted of pointing at things and naming them, having it repeated back etc. I also labelled large parts of my house with post-it notes; which told my young person that I cared as well as being helpful to him. Once he thought he knew the word, we’d take the post-it note down. 6 months on, there are no post-its left and we hardly ever need google translate.
“Having him around and watching him blossom is the best bit”
The best bit of the experience has just been having him around and watching him blossom. A terrified, withdrawn kid came to my home, and 6 months on a relaxed, funny, hard-working and considerate young man lives in it. There’s still a long way for him to go, he occasionally still has nightmares and bad days and he’s not as confident outside the home. Never forget, there’s 2 years of his life that he’s essentially lost, along with his family and that leaves deep scars. But seeing the progress he’s made, how resilient and determined he is, gives me hope that he’ll be ok, that his life will be ok, and that’s the joy of it.
Read more about H and his carer’s experience of hosting him during lockdown, including their experience of the assessment process.
If you would like to hear more about becoming a Host Family Supported Carer or to take part in an Open Night , please email: HostFamilyService@glasgow.gov.uk.
Do you have a story to share from your community? Contact our Storytelling Officer Chris Afuakwah.Children and young people