Gap Homes – helping achieve successful life outcomes

This content is sponsored by Barnardo's

New Gap Homes scheme helps provide comfortable and safe housing for young people for up to two years.
Gap Homes

Gap Homes is an ambitious and innovative programme, established in response to the chronic shortage of suitable housing for young people leaving care, and other vulnerable groups. Inadequate accommodation undermines young people’s development and progress and reduces the impact of any support provided.

Barnardo’s is committed to building 50 new community-based houses in partnership with Local Authorities across the UK. The ‘No Place Like Home’ national report published by Barnardo’s and IKEA in 2021, highlighted the chronic housing shortage especially for young people coming out of the care system and how this directly impacts on their ability to achieve successful life outcomes.

An overwhelming proportion of care leavers reported that they had little or no choice about where they moved after leaving care, many found the whole experience of finding somewhere to live, and moving in, to be ‘scary’ and did not feel ready to live independently, saying they were  not  prepared with the practical skills needed. (Barnardo’s, No Place Like Home) 2021)[SA1]. Barnardo’s has responded with Gap Homes a home – and so much more.

The average age that young people leave home in the UK is 23. This is not the case for care leavers who have to leave their placements, in most cases, by the age of 18. Most care leavers end up living in large scale supported accommodation, sometimes as part of Homelessness provision or alone in the community with little support. We believe this is sets young people up – to fail. 

With the Gap Homes programme, we want to redefine that pathway from care which involves providing new, net-zero carbon housing alongside individualised, flexible support.  

Barnardo’s is working in partnership with local authorities, district councils and industry partners to build small new homes that are easy to equip, maintain and manage, comfortable and safe and offered to young people for up to two years with consistent practical and emotional support tailored to individual needs.

Barnardo’s provide the capital for these new houses that are co-designed with young people in the local area. We are also seeking to minimise environmental impact by using the latest net-zero methods. Gap Sites are small pockets of vacant land, usually provided by the Local Authority or District Council and often neglected or deemed unsuitable for larger scale development. Gap Sites essentially provide new locations in established communities and the design of the houses considers the aesthetics of the local area, to fit with the local environment.

Gap Homes will be easy and economical to live in with thermal efficiency, easily maintained living space and essential equipment provided. Offsite and modular building techniques are used to minimise the time on site and the disruption to neighbours.   

Here’s what young people can expect from Gap Homes and the wraparound support offered:

Gap Homes have two types of models:

Community Model

Individual tenancies located in established communities, with a maximum of 2 tenancies on any one site. Suitable for young people who are ready to live more independently, with tiered support based on individual needs and access to on call.

Cluster Model:

A cluster of 4 tenancies and a staffed house, with a ‘family home’ feel providing semi-independent, individual accommodation for young people with high support needs.

Support is on-site, 24/7 with waking nightshift staff.


The pilot Gap home was built in 2019 and has provided housing for 4 young people so far.

Find out how you can help

You can help the vulnerable children and young people we support to continue to grow and become independent by leaving a gift in your Will.  

 A gift in your Will is a special way to mark the experiences that shape you – and pass on the gift of childhood to future generations.

[SA1]No-Place-Like-Home-Report-IKEA.pdf (

If you found Gap Homes – helping achieve successful life outcomes interesting, you’ll find more information about the valuable work Barnardo’s supports on our Gifts in Wills hub.

Tags: , Last modified: August 31, 2022

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