Geraldine Court celebrates 15th birthday
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Geraldine Court in Solihull, Bromford’s first purpose-built, directly managed scheme for young families has celebrated its 15th birthday.
A significant milestone for Bromford, it houses seven two-bedroom flats and welcomes involvement from young dads as well as teenage mothers; a radical change from the mother and baby hostels usually provided when it was set up - and in many areas today.
Geraldine Court has helped hundreds of young families directly over the last 15 years and has had a huge influence on the way services are provided nationally. Bromford has now built many similar schemes across the Midlands and other providers have since used this approach elsewhere.
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Johanna Francis-Jones who manages the scheme said: “This birthday has been a great opportunity to welcome back some of our first residents and for new customers to hear how it has helped them. We help young parents with life skills, budgeting, tenancy related issues and ensure they get the benefits they are entitled to. Each family has their own front door key and there is a resource flat on site so there is always someone to talk to and great friendships are formed here.”
Miranda, one of the first young mums at the scheme was 16 when she came to Geraldine court in 1999. She said: “I clashed with my mum on how I was parenting my first child, William: two mums in the same house didn’t work! At that age, I had never had a job and didn’t know how to budget and I am from a big family so to be on my own would’ve been really scary. Coming here I learnt how to manage money, cook and got help in parenting skills. I now live independently, have two more children, am married and work as a care assistant.”
Miranda’s mum, Phyllis, says: “Coming to Geraldine Court was the best thing that could have happened to Miranda. She has done fantastically and still budgets in the way she was taught here.”
One young mum and dad, Charmaine and Quaid said: “Being here has helped us to support ourselves and we can live as a family. If we are worrying about anything we know there’s help here and it’s a real community. We’re planning to have our own place next.”
Another young mum, Rosie, said: “I don’t feel on my own and we help each other out.”