Up and down the country, young people will have recently enjoyed Halloween celebrations and as the cold weather draws in, cooking hearty warming food will become a central part of normal family life. Both of these things that so many people take for granted, can expose huge gaps in our sense of self and our social and cultural inclusion, when they are not part of normal life.

For homeless young people, the lack of a family home and support network can impact on life chances in many ways. With a strong sense of isolation from ‘normal life’, this vulnerable group can feel marginalised from society. The social and life skills, that as individuals we gain from our interactions with family, friends and colleagues, can be difficult for homeless young people to evolve and practice.

Poplar Villa is a hostel in Scarborough, part of the North Yorkshire Young People’s Pathway, providing temporary accommodation for young people who are currently homeless. As well as providing a roof over their heads, the hostel work to engage their residents in activities, building social inclusion and the development of life skills that will be vital to sustain independent living further down the line. For some of these activities it’s also just about having a good time. Last week customers from Poplar Villa took part in activities to cook a curry and carve pumpkins; two of the nations favourite past-times. Support Worker, Kira, reports:

Curry night 25th October – This was an idea of one of our customers who had never prepared a curry before from scratch. This particular customer did the shopping for the meal and followed a recipe with staff. Four customers enjoyed sitting down together and eating the meal as a group. The young people were amazed at how much cheaper buying the ingredients and cooking it themselves was, in comparison to a take-away. We think it tasted better too!

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Halloween Pumpkin Carving Sunday 30th October – we decided to do a positive activity and five customers helped carve spooky pumpkins. Staff received the pumpkins as donations from Tesco, thank you! All involved enjoyed the activity. Some customers said they had never carved a pumpkin before. We try to do something at Poplar Villa every year and give our customers a chance to take part this annual celebration that so many of us enjoy.