This month, we hosted two Foyer Connect events in Leeds and London with a focus on how staff in Foyers can build their confidence to support young people’s mental health and wellbeing. Staff members from 16 services came together to hear inspiring stories, learn about best practice happening across the network and take away practical ideas to try.
"First time attending an event with Foyer Fed. Great experience and I have met some amazing people today!"
Connecting with colleagues
Foyer Connect events give staff an opportunity to meet colleagues from other youth supported housing services across our network. It was a chance for Foyer professionals to listen and learn from one another, discuss ideas and experiences around mental health and wellbeing, and discover new approaches to better support young people with experience of homelessness or the care system.
During the day, staff spoke passionately about how they hope to be someone young people can depend on and how they want their services to be a safe space to provide comfort, support and a listening ear.
“I don't care what you want to be – if you want to be an astronaut, I can help you get there!”
States of Mind
We were joined at both events by Bea Herbert from States of Mind who introduced their wellbeing resource ‘Selfology’ and shared the brand-new handbook created based on feedback from Foyers taking part in the Connecting Minds programme. States of Mind advocates for an alternative method of mental health treatment to the widely accepted medical model, believing that all young people should have access to tools and approaches that give them ownership of their wellbeing and the freedom to choose what works best for them.
Brave spaces for LGBTQ+ young people
At the London event, we heard from Eli at Crawley Foyer (YMCA Downslink Group) about the creation of safe and brave spaces for the LGBTQ+ community within youth housing. The initiative came about after consulting with the local council, youth organisations and members of the public for several years and recognising a gap in the provision. LGBTQU+ Haven (the ‘U’ stands for ‘unsure’) now provides a safe space, support, understanding and sense of community at a local level so young people can access it easily.
“Thank you for opening my eyes to the LGBTQ+ safe/brave spaces. I am going to try this!”
Grow your mental health practice with ReRooted
Lastly, but by no means least! At Foyer Connect we launched ReRooted – our new programme that works with Foyer staff to build the knowledge, confidence and skills to better support young people living in Foyers.
The programme is about creating the right conditions in which young people can form strong roots, grow their skills and talents, and have fruitful, thriving futures – whatever their past experiences might be.
Download our ReRooted information booklet to find out more and express interest in being part of our learning cohort group.
Key takeaways from the day
Each person took away learnings and new ideas that were personalised to themselves, their young people and their Foyers, but here are some of the key things that we heard:
When young people are empowered with the necessary skills to care for their mental health and given greater power and autonomy over their own wellbeing, they become active participants on their healing journey.
When young people are able to voice their ideas, it helps Foyers come up with better solutions by listening to them.
Though it might be impossible to entirely prevent everyone from harm, creating brave spaces offers something close to that with all participants invited to be actively aware of each other’s safety.
“Great day and opportunity. Great to network with staff from other Foyers.”
“I am grateful for the opportunity to learn how other Foyers work. Thank you.”
All quotes are from Foyer Connect attendees.