MORE than 100 people helped celebrate the 25th anniversary of Bolton Young Persons Housing Scheme at a special event.
As well as the silver milestone, they were also able to mark BYPHS having helped 8,000 young people who would otherwise have been homeless. Each year, the charity provides a home for 340 young people aged 16 to 25.
The organisation began when a group of local people and the local authority wanted to tackle the emerging problem of Bolton’s young homeless. They teamed up with Irwell Valley Housing Association to open a house in Daubhill for two young homeless people to share.
This was the start. Today, there is a hostel for under-18s, more than 70 supported tenancies and Project Front Door with 24-hour supported accommodation for those needing high levels of support.
In 2015, BYPHS opened the Lucas Project in Farnworth with more supported accommodation. Altogether, the charity now has 100 units of accommodation across Bolton with 42 staff and 15 sessional workers.
Each young person can stay with the organisation for up to 12 months. Although the emphasis is on providing safety and a roof over their heads, there is practical support and help to become independent.
At the event, a “This Is Your Life” style presentation was hosted by Dave Bagley, who started homeless charity Urban Outreach and was one of the founders of BYPHS. He explained how they had “never dreamed that we would be here in 25 years — but then we never dreamed that we would still need to be here”.
He highlighted the work of individuals including Lynne Sprigings and Gwen Crawford. Jon Lord, CEO of Bolton at Home, recalled the early days of BYPHS and praised the organisation, especially Maura Jackson who has been its CEO for the past five years. She told the audience: “We haven’t helped everyone that’s needed it but we have tried. We have made, and continue to make, a difference. I’ve heard it said that you can’t help everyone but everyone can help someone.”
Future projects would include work with young people vulnerable to sexual exploitation, and there was a new Guardians’ scheme of local supporters. This had already attracted 21 people and raised more than £10,000.
One of them, Jayne Hart from Amity Law in Horwich, stated that BYPHS was vital “because there are so many young people out there urgently needing help”.