THE boss of a housing charity who lived for five days as a homeless young person is already working on bringing in changes to the way the charity operates — based on her experiences.
Maura Jackson, the director of Bolton Young Person’s Housing Scheme (BYPHS), based at Trinity House, Breightmet Street, decided to embark on the challenge in an attempt to learn more about what a young person living in one of the charity’s temporary flats has to go through.
The challenge, which was laid down by one of the charity’s beneficiaries, left her with just £40 to spend over the five days — as if she was living on benefits.
Ms Jackson’s said: “Already we have had an annual meeting of trustees and staff and I was able to feed back what I have learnt during the challenge.
“Amongst a number of things we want to do is provide free launderette services so young people can wash their clothes and feel better about themselves and also to provide free starter packs for the kitchen and for cleaning.
“We are also planning more fundraising activities so we can offer more things for the young people to do — because for me the isolation, loneliness and boredom were the worst things.
“I was surprised by how badly the boredom affected me, it left me feeling lethargic and down — so we are already looking at providing more drop in sessions to help with that.”
Ms Jackson’s challenge got off to a bad start when she realised the gas meter had been capped — meaning there was no heating or hot water available. She was forced to use 18 kettles to wash herself.
Ms Jackson has been asking for donations to go towards the BYPHS emergency fund and has so far raised £700, which could rise when Gift Aid is added in.
She said: “I am so glad I did it — it has really given me time to think and I am more determined than ever to improve the experiences of young people in the scheme.”