Recently I met with 2 lads aged 19 and 22, both care leavers, both had been in prison on short sentences (6 months), both unemployed and both were homeless. Sadly, there was little we could do to offer hope to them, everything was against them; in their opinion there was no one able to help them out of the very deep hole that they found themselves in. As a housing manager and also a housing advice worker it is so frustrating knowing that we were unable to help them.
So where is the hope? I have 4 children, I have to trust that the combination of the best parenting we can muster plus helping my children work hard at education and living good lives will help them overcome the challenges that they will face to enter the job market. But I have thought lots about those two young lads and wondered if they are just the start of many that will find themselves at the Jericho Road Project door asking for help. With the Youth service disappearing before our eyes, who will take up the slack? I do feel like the Church where I work plus many others, will be faced with the challenge of stepping up in areas that we have not previously considered, perhaps even Young Offenders!