Creating a home at Ingram Court


“It was a heart-warming moment”: creating a home at Ingram Court

We all remember how it feels to be young, trying to find our voice and our identity. One team that understands this very well is Ingram Court, a Croydon service housing and supporting 44 young people. We recently spoke to the service’s managers, Annette and Leilah, to find out how they bring people with a wide range of lived experiences together to create a home where they can thrive. A place where they feel seen, valued and part of a community, whatever their identity.

“Our service is highly unpredictable” says Annette, “inevitably there are days when young people feel frustrated, often over issues like Wi-Fi connectivity. But other days we have lovely conversations with customers who just want to chat about everyday matters. We embrace an open-door policy, so people can visit our office without appointments.

It’s everyone’s responsibility to keep the young people in our building safe and meet their needs. Regardless of our individual roles, we focus on the tasks at hand, as a team. Our primary goals are to ensure that everyone is content, that we are working harmoniously, and the work gets done. This cooperative spirit and shared commitment are what set us apart.”

The team have made a concerted effort to work in a psychologically informed way, with a focus on customers’ emotional wellbeing and creating a safe, inclusive space. One way that the diverse backgrounds of customers are recognised and celebrated is through cultural events and celebrations.

“We display a calendar highlighting various holidays including Ramadan, Jewish holidays, and Christian holidays. This demonstrates our commitment to celebrating a wide range of cultural and religious events, not just focusing on one.

We extend inclusivity to our food choices as well. When we organise events like brunch clubs we make sure to cater to different dietary needs like halal and vegan, and to let customers choose different cuisines based on their backgrounds and nationalities. Additionally, we actively participate in events like Black History Month, where we organise a calendar of activities. These include cooking meals from various countries, movie nights highlighting black history, and cultural dress-up days where staff members wear outfits from different cultures.”

Activities like these, run year-round, aim to celebrate people’s identities, as well as encourage connections and community. This helps to make people feel that they are supported, and enables the building of new relationships.

“As well as the customer-facing things, we have staff members engaged in different forums that also help to celebrate diversity. For instance, I am part of the Diversity and Inclusion Network, and we have team members in the LGBTQ+ forum. Groups like these allow people to bring important issues to the table and work towards making our services safe and welcoming spaces for everyone. We’ve made significant progress in this regard.”

As with all of our services, we want to set our customers up the future. The aim one day is for all of the young people at Ingram Court to move into more permanent, independent housing. As Leilah knows, this can be a profound and moving experience for them.

“One memorable experience was assisting someone who had never had a home or a key to call their own. When they finally held their first key, it was a heart-warming moment that I’ll never forget.”

You can read more about Ingram Court and the work that they are doing here.  

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