Inspiring new ways of making independent living affordable

21st March 2022 - Sarah Mumford

In Autumn 2021, Inspire North sponsored IVE to deliver an Applied Creativity Lab with a group of young people to find new ways to make independent living more affordable for people living in supported housing. We worked with 2 groups of young people at Foundation in Harrogate and Scarborough, and a small group of primary children from Wykeham Primary Church of England Primary School.

Experts talked to the young people at the start of the project. They heard from Matthew Hall, Senior Partnership Leader for Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland District, Department for Work and Pensions; Luke Burgess, an educator with lived experience; Hannah McKowen, Catch 22; and Lynne Kell from South Tyneside County Council. All of the experts offered different perspectives on the challenge of moving from living in supported housing to living independently.

IVE delivered creative problem-solving training and took the groups through a 9 week process that supported them to generate their own new ways for making independent living affordable for young people in supported housing. Having explored their various ideas each group chose one which they then developed further and presented to an Industry Panel, Dragon’s Den style, in York. The panel included: Mark Riddell MBE, DfE; Liz Mills, Dept for Justice; Hannah McKowen, Catch 22; David Sharp, North Yorks Youth; and Martin Kelly, North Yorkshire County Council.

The panel were really impressed with the ideas presented and some comments included:

‘Researched the subject very well. Very good challenge questions. The £20 universal credit increase being stopped when inflation increasing is extremely good point. 6 months rent relief is an excellent idea and the Kickstart Scheme could be adapted for this.’

‘40% rent reduction would work via the HMRC RTI system. Great way to access a better system of support and budget. A good incentive to get into work. Less ‘messing’ than Universal Credit. OK with zero-hours contracts. Could be managed within supported housing for a limited period of time. Good examples’

‘I like the facts. Some good questions to ask yourself. Good to link with mental health and the benefit cycle. 6 months rent relief made possible by adapting existing schemes is a good idea with a real-life example given. A great idea and really could work!’

Following the pitch event, one group were invited to deliver their presentation again at a future council meeting and next steps for actioning one of the ideas that the young people came up with are being explored with some of the panel members.

The greatest learning gains reported by participants on the Inspire North Applied Creativity Lab Programme were linked to plans for the future and the development of resilience skills. This provided clear beneficial evidence of the programme providing young people with tools and techniques to enhance their creative and problem-solving skills, as well as enhancing resilience (a key area impacted by mental health).

The largest learning gain increases were linked to their plans for the future and participants feeling in control of their future. Increases in these areas, by the end of the programme, provided powerful evidence that the Applied Creativity Lab supported participants in their thoughts, actions and direction of travel for their future. Participants also reported that their resilience, in terms of bouncing back from difficult situations, had increased a great deal by the end of the programme. They also reported a greater understanding and appreciation of the value of others when working in teams.

Find out more about our Applied Creativity Labs here.

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