Meet Nigel

Aspiring plumber learns lessons in life with Young People’s Housing Service

Nigel has had support to budget and learn life skills such as cooking so he can live independently

Aspiring plumber Nigel Kamwendo is on the road to a brighter future, thanks to the support of one Homes for Cathy member.

Twenty one year-old Nigel joined Hightown Housing Association’s Young People’s Housing Service (YPHS) in 2017, when the breakdown of his family home put him at risk of becoming homeless.  At the tender age of 17, with no experience of living alone, Nigel found the support of Hightown staff invaluable in teaching him the vital skills he needed to live independently. 

After first being homed in a YPHS shared house in Hemel Hempstead, where he received daily support, Nigel has now moved on to one of the service’s flats, where a Hightown support worker visits him regularly, providing help and guidance to enable him to maintain his tenancy.  As a result of this on-going support, Nigel has been able to continue his education and is set to complete a Level 3 Diploma in Plumbing Studies this summer.  In his spare time he enjoys playing football, writing music, going to church and volunteering with local charity Waterways Experiences, skippering canal boat trips for disadvantaged youngsters.

Nigel says:

“When I came to the project, it was the first time I had been on my own.  The staff at Hightown really helped me with things like budgeting, learning how to cook, using the washing machine and keeping my accommodation tidy.  I’m now really forward to finishing college, starting a job and being settled.  My next step is to get an apprenticeship so I can get some practical plumbing experience.”

Hightown Housing Association’s YPHS Operations Manager, Philippa Gardner, adds:

“Nigel is typical of the young people who come to our service who need to learn living skills in order to survive.  It’s a big thing when you’re 17 or 18, paying your gas, electricity, council tax and trying to manage everything.  It’s a lot to get to grips with all in one go, so we provide support to help tenants manage their money – we want to make sure we don’t set up young people to fail. 

“Essentially, their time with us provides a practice run for living totally independently.  Nigel is definitely one of our success stories – he’s been a pleasure to work with and we wish him all the best as he starts this new chapter of his life.”