EAST Lothian Council has been granted £307,000 of funding to develop a Peer Flatmate Scheme.

The project will put ‘care-experienced’ young people in flats with students to give peer support and improve options.The young people will share accommodation, giving each of them access to a low-cost home with mutual peer support.

The council will be working alongside Hub for Success, which brings together Queen Margaret University, Newbattle Abbey College, Heriot Watt University, Napier University, Edinburgh College, The Open University and the University of Edinburgh. The funding, that has been provided by the Life Changes Trust as part of their Home and Belonging initiative. will be matched by the council.

Initially, two furnished properties will be purchased by the council, where four care-experienced young people and two students will live. This number will increase to 10 properties over the course of the next three years, which will become homes to 20 care experienced young people and 10 peer flatmate students.

Heather Coady, director of the Trust’s care experienced young people programme, said: “We are delighted to be supporting the Peer Flatmate project in East Lothian. Care-experienced young people have the same potential and aspirations as other young people, but generally they do not have access to the same supportive relationships as others when they begin to move into adulthood. Through our Home and Belonging initiative, we are investing in projects which offer creative and personalised responses to this challenge.”

The £4 million ‘Home and Belonging’ initiative, which granted the funds for the Peer Flatmate Scheme, was created to provide specific and creative support to young people who are ready to move on from care, and to give them a feeling of stability, warmth and security.

A spokesperson from East Lothian Council said: “We believe this is the first project of this kind in the whole of Scotland and a great example of partnership working between council teams and external partners to make a real difference to the lives of some of our most vulnerable young people. The role of a Peer Flatmate will be to provide guidance and share their experience of shared living. This role is voluntary, with rent and costs such as WiFi covered through funding. A Housing Support provider will provide individual and group support to each flat-share project, covering issues such as budgeting and shared living.”