Maggie and Pete

Maggie and Pete

Maggie and Pete

How long have you been hosting for?

Autumn 2012, nearly nine years. We started with Nightstop and then progressed to Supported Lodgings and Nightstop.

What made you want to get involved?

All our children were grown up and had left home. We had a couple of spare rooms and felt it was the right time to do something different. I was thinking about my children and if things had been different, it would be nice to know that there were people there to help them and offer a safe secure place for them to stay. When my kids were in their teens, I remember a friend of my daughter’s arrive on my front door step with a suitcase and ask if she could stay for a few days as she had fallen out with her mum. I had always had an open door for their friends and was glad to help. Reading about SASH brought those memories back and I knew I had to do it.

Do you have a best memory of hosting you could share with us?

We had a young girl come to live with us, as she couldn’t stay at home with her mum. She had nowhere else to go. She had just started college on a Beauty Therapy course. She was quite shy to begin with, but we helped her with her course work, became models for her to practise on and she soon found her feet and passed her course with flying colours! She worked hard and eventually got her own beauty business, something she would have struggled to do if she had stayed in her previous situation. We were really proud of her. We saw her a few years later and she thanked us for the support and the belief we had in her that she could do it.

Do you have a funniest moment of hosting you could share with us?

We were having a Skype session with a friend of ours in USA. Our Supported Lodger came in and joined in the conversation. She asked where our friend was from, and he replied Oregon, to which she replied, ‘is that near Blackpool?’- suffice to say a map came out and we had a geography lesson!

Did you have any worries about hosting before you began?

Yes of course, who wouldn’t? What support would we get as Hosts, would we be sent out-of-control young adults, drug addicts, what information would we be told about the person? Once we had spoken to Kirsty from SASH who came to visit us, we realised that all our worries had been addressed, and the support and information we would be given was fantastic.

Has there been any differences with hosting throughout the pandemic compared to what you’ve been used to?

Yes definitely. We had a long term lodger leave a few weeks before the first lockdown. We had agreed to have a short break before accepting anyone else. Once lockdown was here Pete was identified as a vulnerable person and so we reluctantly stepped back for the first lockdown. We missed having a young person in the house and so after the first lockdown finished we agreed to have another young person. We found it quite hard adhering to the lockdown rules and enforcing them onto our young person, who also found it hard being an outgoing person. We could see her mental health being affected. We included her as often as we could in doing things about the house. All our meetings were on Zoom and any face-to-face with our young person and her support worker were classed as exercise as they went out for a walk. SASH have done everything in their power to make things go smoothly. It has been a learning curve for us all.

Would you recommend hosting?

Hosting is not for everyone, but if you want to help give young people a brighter future, show them that there are caring people who want to help them fulfil their potential and you are able to be broad-minded, then go for it.

Any advice for hosts who’ve just started on their training journey?

Expect the unexpected, have an open mind but a firm one, always ask for help if you need it. Don’t expect the young person to know how to do things, just because it is second nature to you. For example if you say ‘go and make your bed’ be prepared to show them how to do that from scratch. One of my lodgers had never slept in a bed and had no idea what a mattress cover was or how to put a duvet on, let alone why we did this. Not every young person is the perfect lodger and sometimes no matter how hard you to try to help, things do not go to plan as your young person is not ready to accept the help. SASH will always be there to to take difficult decisions out of your hands , but give you all the support you need.


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