A YOUNG couple have thanked a youth charity for helping them move into their first home together.

Jamie Barbour and Phoenix Walker said they were delighted after the Musselburgh-based Bridges Project’s homemaker service helped them secure a flat in the centre of North Berwick.

The couple signed their tenancy in May last year, after initially struggling to afford a home.

They were introduced to the homemaker service through another Bridges Project service.

Jamie, 19, said: “I was already receiving support from the personal development service at the time and when I told Grant [the personal development worker] that we were struggling to find a place, he told me about the homemaker service and put a referral in for me and Phoenix.”

A week after the referral was made, the couple met with Stevie Baxter, the homemaker service’s independent living support worker.

He helped them apply to East Lothian Housing Association and supported them through the process of identifying a home.

Mr Baxter said: “They were so diligent. They were a real credit to themselves.

“They were bidding for properties every week until they finally received the message that their application was successful.”

After securing the flat in North Berwick, Mr Baxter helped Jamie and Phoenix inspect the property, sign the tenancy agreement and set up council tax payments and electricity and internet providers.

Jamie, a former Musselburgh Grammar School pupil, said: “As soon as we moved out from our respective family homes and into our own place, I felt like I could actually be myself.

“Having that space has improved my relationship with my family too.

“Stevie was always there for us. If we gave him a text, we would always hear from him right away. He always got involved when we didn’t know what to do and sorted things out for us. I wouldn’t even know where to start if it wasn’t for Stevie.”

Jamie, who is currently doing an arts and design course at Edinburgh College, also praised the support he received from the Bridges Project’s personal development service.

He said: “Having support from Grant was great. It gave me someone to talk to when I had a bad week and allowed me to just get things out. Some people try to dig deeper when there isn’t anything deeper there but Grant was just there to understand and listen. He was really good at listening and giving advice.

“Overall, I think the Bridges Project is a really good place to go to for young people to get ready for adult life.”