Young people and care leavers

We work with young people and care leavers who for many different reasons may need extra support.

They might have had problems at home, come directly from care or be escaping abuse, violence or exploitation. Others may have mental health needs, drug or alcohol issues or  have offended in the past.

Whatever their background, we know that with the right support, they can go on to achieve great things.

A customer in one of our young people services

We support each young person to develop the skills and confidence they need to live independently.

Our services

We have been supporting young people for over 30 years. We have experience of delivering many different types of services for young people including foyers, family mediation and respite services.

Today we support over 1200 young people between the ages of 16 and 25 every year through a wide range of services including:

We provide these services for young people that have previously been in care. Some of these services operate on a pan-London basis, accepting referrals from Leaving Care and Social Work Teams from across different local authorities.

Our staff teams work closely with Personal Advisors, take part in joint reviews and support each young person to move towards independent living in line with their individual Pathway Plan.

Most young people we work with receive support from our supported housing services. This includes hostel, step-down and floating support services.

Young people may come to our hostels from sleeping on the streets or sofa surfing following problems at home or a family breakdown. They might have come directly from care or foster placements, or young offender institutions.

We support each young person to get back on their feet, access the specialist services they need and move on to their own accommodation. This is usually within two years, often less, and usually in the private rented sector.

Many young people in our accommodation-based services move on to our step-down or visiting support services. These are often nearby or in the same local area.

Here young people who are ready to become more independent live in shared accommodation and receive support from our visiting teams. These services provide a valuable stepping stone for young people moving from accommodation-based support to independent living.

We support young people living across a variety of different settings. They might be living with friends, relatives or in shared accommodation. For many, this may be the first time they will have lived independently.

We provide practical support around managing and maintaining a home and support them to feel safe, secure and confident.

Our specialist services offer support for women from pregnancy to parenthood. Our teams help each young parent to meet the practical and emotional challenges of raising a child, establish support networks and build healthy relationships that benefit the whole family.

Our approach

We have over 40 years experience of supporting people to make choices, take control and move forwards with their lives. We do this through our Look Ahead approach, providing services that are personalised, co-produced and delivered in partnership with health.

Key to our approach for young people is our new Lifeskills Programme, co-developed by our customers and staff.  Mapped to the Government’s Care Leavers’ Strategy, it focuses on building skills and confidence in the different areas professionals look at when assessing a young people’s ability to live independently. This includes emotional wellbeing, skills, training and work, health, finances, relationships and their living environment.

In addition, we support each young person:

Tick icon To be aspirational, encouraging them to believe they can and will succeed

Tick icon As an adult on equal terms, clear about expectations, rights and responsibilities

Tick icon With care and compassion, building trust over time

Tick icon To recognise and build strong, healthy and safe relationships

Tick icon To build their skills, access training and get into work

Tick icon Fairly and consistently, openly challenging negative patterns of behaviour


"Look Ahead made a very big difference to me; it gave me an opportunity to live with young people from different backgrounds and see different aspects of life."

Read Stella's story