Young mums saved from a life of homelessness by a Spalding charity have returned to help it celebrate ten years of life-changing work.
The Lighthouse Project hosted a buffet at one of its homes in the town for children and their mums who have been given the necessary parenting skills to build a better life for them and their young ones.
We give the girls opportunities to learn budgeting, cooking and parenting skills, as well as giving them extra support during their pregnancyportJenny Tedbury, executive director, The Lighthouse Project
Run by director Jenny Tedbury, the charity is funded by voluntary donations and proceeds from two charity shops in Spalding, The Lighthouse Project in Sheep Market and a furniture recycling store in Broadgate House, off Westlode Street.
Jenny said: “We deal with young mums aged between 16 and 25 who become pregnant and homeless, although we’ve had some mums who are older than that.
“The home also welcomes mums who already have children and find themselves at high risk of being made homeless for a whole range of reasons.
“We give the girls opportunities to learn budgeting, cooking and parenting skills, as well as giving them extra support during their pregnancy.
“We bought a house in Spalding to provide this service at a time when there were no other homes for mums and their babies in South Holland.
“Initially, we had some funding for staff from Lincolnshire County Council but that has now been allocated to a countywide provider which is why we are now dependent on voluntary donations and funds raised by our two shops.”
The home caters for up to six mums, with their children, at a time and their length of stay can be between a few months and two years.
Manager Jane Dhanji said: “Most of the mums are local but we’ve had mums referred to us from outside of South Holland as well.
“Our aim is to allow the girls to experience safe parenting, whilst helping to get them into work or education which will enable them to live independently.”
One of the mums helped by The Lighthouse Project, who asked not to be named, said: “I moved into the home at a time when I couldn’t do anything for myself.
“I didn’t know how to cook and I had no idea how to bring up a child.
“But after nearly two and a half years at The Lighthouse Project’s home in Spalding, I learned how to be an adult.
“I don’t know what I would have done without the home and help from its staff who helped me a lot in the time I was there.”
Another mum, who also asked not to be named, said: “I was 16 when I fell pregnant and there was no one to go to.
“I was going to be put in a hostel with juveniles and drug users, but my mum found this home in Spalding and I came here where I learned how to deal with family issues.
“Now I’m living independently with my son in my own house in Stamford.”