Skip to main content

Home /Blog /Building Hope with Barnardo’s

Building Hope with Barnardo’s

Posted: 24th June 2019

Laura Brown

Partnership Development Manager


Who gave you hope when you were growing up? Inspired you to become the person you are today? Believed in you and gave you the tools to achieve? Opened your eyes to a career in the built environment?

Barnardo’s is calling on the construction industry to give hope and transform the lives of vulnerable young people leaving care.

Our innovative Building Hope project addresses the challenges care leavers face and the high demand for new recruits in the construction industry.

Young people in care often experience trauma, neglect and disruption throughout their childhood. Those leaving care are some of the most disadvantaged young people across the UK. On average, 40% of care leavers aged 19-21 are not in education, employment or training, compared to just 13% of their peers.

Their situations are often made worse due to the shortage of good quality housing, a stable and safe place to call home, the lack of a support network and the confidence and skills all of which are vital to getting and staying in employment. Leaving care and the transition experience towards independence can vastly impact the course of a young person’s life.

Lee had a chaotic life growing up; “I never felt like I fitted in, I was very different to everyone else. I was involved with the ‘wrong crowd’ and became violent to family. I ended up being sent to live with my uncle for two months to work with him. When I came back, I didn’t want to go back to my family, so I decided to live on the streets. I really didn’t want to do anything with my life and eventually I went into care.”

At Barnardo’s we believe in children and young people – no matter who they are, what they have done or what they have been through.

Aged 19 Lee joined Barnardo’s Building Hope Academy. Signing up to our 16 week traineeship in dry lining, pursuing qualifications in both literacy and numeracy and developing essential life skills such as being organised and team work. The support of the academy is enabling Lee to turn his life around.

“The Building Hope Academy has given me structure and I feel a lot more stable. It has given me something to focus on, working hard, having a goal set in mind. It helps me forget everything else. I would say to other young people, who have been in a similar situation to me that please don’t give up. If you can push past that you will realise that there is more to life than sitting around doing nothing, playing video games and taking drugs. You can have fun working hard. After completing my traineeship, I hope to go into the construction industry.”

Following our successful and award winning academy pilot working in partnership with Saint-Gobain UK and Ireland, Barking and Dagenham College and Phoenix Housing, we are developing our wider Building Hope project.

The Building Hope project will support 300 young people a year, proving supported lodgings, emergency housing, vocational skills training and ongoing holistic wraparound support.

The programme is designed to support young people to develop the skills they need to help them prepare for transition out of care and into employment and independence. It will initially support care leavers aged 17-25 in the London boroughs of Bromley, Croydon, Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark but by design can expand UK wide.

We are seeking support from the construction sector to raise £1m to renovate a currently unloved building into ‘Building Hope House’ a community hub and nine-bed supported accommodation for care leavers in Crystal Palace.

By working with Barnardo’s on the Building Hope project, local and national construction companies will be able to:

  • Directly and positively impact the lives of vulnerable young care leavers
  • Deliver social value to local communities
  • Develop and access a new talent pipeline as an employer offering work experience, traineeships or apprenticeships within the Building Hope network
  • Address the skills gap within the construction industry.

Together we can give hope, inspire and believe in young people who are otherwise left on their own to navigate the transition from care to adulthood. We can provide life tools and employability skills to those interested in developing a career in the construction sector and transform lives and futures.

But don’t just take my word for it, take a look at this video and hear from the young people who we are already supporting.

If this sounds of interest to you or you would like to know more please contact me on at or 07720 642 045.

Looking forward to changing lives together.

Building Hope Academy

Winner of Business Charity Awards Project of the Year 2019

What did the judges say?

"This project has practical and transformative outcomes for some of the most vulnerable young people," said Wanda Wyporska, executive director at the Equality Trust. "It is a wonderful programme, with a lot of potential."