At just 18-years-old, Sarah (not her real name) found herself without a permanent place to call home.

Things got tough at her family home which was why she moved out in the first place.

She then moved from home to home while sofa surfing.

This was when a children's charity stepped in to help her find some stability in life.

"Barnardo’s supported me and introduced me to Laura and her family, who I ended up staying with for a year," Sarah said.

"She was very open and easy to talk to and really helped me emotionally.

"I was still able to visit my family home and this meant I could maintain a relationship with my mum and spend time there.

"My host Laura and her family really helped me when I was in a difficult place."

Things soon got better at Sarah's childhood home so she decided to make the tough decision and move back in with her mum, a decision that has treated her well so far.

The children's charity is now calling on people just like Laura to offer a home to those most at need.

“Being a Supported Lodgings Host is such a rewarding and positive experience," Laura said.

"I really wanted to get involved as I was keen to support young people who were in less fortunate positions.

“I loved having Sarah to stay and watching her thrive over time in a safe and stable environment was brilliant.

"She really opened up to me and we had a great relationship."

Launching on January 3, hosts are given weekly payments alongside ongoing support, training and guidance from the Barnardo’s team.

The service, based at The Triangle in Coxwell Road, Crystal Palace, supports young people in Croydon, Southwark, Lambeth and also Redbridge in east London.

Barnardo’s children’s service manager Rajinder Nagra said: “We urgently need to identify people who live in Croydon, have a spare room at home and would like to make a real difference in the life of a young person.

“Our supported lodgings hosts receive weekly payments and ongoing training so they’re well equipped to give advice and emotional support to these highly vulnerable young people, who will eventually find safe housing of their own and begin living independently."

To find out more contact Niyah Drummonds at