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Northlands Lifehouse

Northlands Lifehouse in Cardiff is a residential centre that supports young men and women aged 16-21 to overcome the challenges of homelessness.

The support staff at Northlands Lifehouse have taught me a lot but mostly to respect myself

The centre has 26 self-catered rooms – one of which is used for emergency accommodation – and staff are on hand to provide 24-hours-a-day support.

Young people are referred to Northlands Lifehouse via the Cardiff Young People’s Gateway for a number of reasons. Some residents may have experienced relationship breakdowns, while others may be looking for a place to stay having left prison or care.

Regardless of the reason, each young person chooses a support worker who works with them on a one-to-one basis.

A personal development plan called My Life My Choice is designed with each individual, exploring areas such as health, emotional well being, substance misuse, education and training, employment, leisure activities, and social skills. Personal development plans reflect the young person’s wishes and aspirations and identy goals to work towards.

Northlands Lifehouse provides a positive supportive environment for young people with a programme designed towards supporting residents to identify their own support needs and goals.

The following in-house programmes are available:

  • Practical life skills – assists residents to acquire and develop independent living skills such as cooking, budgeting, cleaning, household maintenance, communication and problem solving, in order for them to be better equipped to manage a tenancy and live within a community. The self-catered rooms give residents a safe space to put what they learn into practice.
  • Training and employability – the centre has a training room and skills co-ordinator to help residents take advantage of a range of education, training and employment opportunities. Residents are supported and encouraged to develop their skills, gain qualifications, attend training courses and maximise opportunities that will help them find a job.

Northlands Lifehouse also supports residents to access appropriate specialised agencies where required.

One resident whose life has been transformed at Northlands is Sarah. She said: "I never thought I would get where I am today, I can finally say I'm proud of myself. My childhood was hard, caring for my mum and dad, abuse, messing up at school. I ended up doing drugs and drinking at an early age. Then came self-harm. I had no boundaries or rules, so to me at the time life was free.

"By 16 my mental health was chaotic. I was aggressive and unpredictable. I cut and overdosed all the time. I ended up on medication and by 18 was admitted to a psychiatric unit.

"I got out and life was good for a bit. I trained and was working full-time as a kitchen manager. I was also still looking after mum and dad. I guess it got too much so I decided to move into a shared housing. At first it was great but then I ended up signed off sick. The house was a nightmare - drugs, prostitution, break-ins. It wasn't long before the landlord was saying I owed him money and needed to work for him. Life was a mess.

"So I came to Northlands Lifehouse. For the first few months I was still drinking, suicidal and had honestly given up on any future. Slowly through chats with the night staff and the constant support of the day staff I managed to get a diagnosis of personality disorder and get on the right medication. They arranged for me to see a new mental health team, GP and counsellor who are brilliant. I started attending the Amber Project for support with my self-harming. I joined activities like cooking, life skills, job shop and arts and crafts - all of which helped build my confidence. I'm also looking into some courses and activities to build a daily routine. You could say I feel stable in myself again. I also need to mention my keyworker because thanks to her patience, time and support I can say at this point in time the council have offered me a flat and I'm due to move soon. Northlands Lifehouse has taught me a lot but mostly to respect myself."

Contact Northlands Lifehouse at: 202 North Road, Cardiff, CF14 3XP

Telephone: (029) 2061 9077

Service manager: Sally Anthony