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The next steps in Wiltshire’s £12m supported accommodation plan have been agreed

image caption, The extra accommodation will enable more young people to stay in Wiltshire

Plans to offer supported accommodation to young people who have been in care or asylum seekers have taken a step forward.

Wiltshire Council has agreed to start looking for housing providers for 68 young people.

It comes under a £10.6m investment which was announced in February. A further £1.6m has also been agreed to provide residential children’s homes for children with complex needs.

Cabinet member for children’s services Laura Mayes said: “This accommodation means more young people can stay in Wiltshire, close to their communities, friends and support networks established with council services.”

She added: “This continuity is key for young people to be successfully independent in terms of their health, wealth and emotional well-being.”

image caption, Council leaders have agreed the next steps to deliver supported accommodation and residential care homes

Currently, there are 340 young people in the county who have experienced the situation in care, including those seeking asylum and those with disabilities.

At a meeting on May 7, councilors agreed that two new procurement processes would begin to find Ofsted-registered accommodation providers on a five-year contract with the option to extend for a further five years.

Ms Mayes said the investment was part of a “precautionary approach to the council’s finances”, investing money now to save on higher costs in the future from “expensive private and out-of-county placements”.

Wiltshire Council has a ‘corporate parent’ role with legal obligations to support young people with care experience, as well as a legal obligation to provide homes for unaccompanied young people seeking asylum.

There are currently 96 care-experienced young people in the Wiltshire Council area living in supported accommodation, of which 57 are young people seeking asylum.

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