Nobody’s home: Barnardo’s spoof website highlights housing plight of London care leavers

A spoof accommodation website has been launched to show the grim housing conditions facing young people leaving the country’s care system.

Children’s charity Barnardo’s is behind Carebandb, which parodies the squalid B&B accommodation offered to care leavers by some local authorities.

Figures provided by the charity show that there are currently 450 care leavers across South West London, with 20 of these living in Merton.

“This site is a tongue-in-cheek way of getting across a serious message about care leavers forced to live in cold, stark accommodation,” said Javed Khan, chief executive of Barnardo’s.

“Many young people leaving care have already had horrific childhoods. We owe them a better start to adult life than this.”

Some of the undesirable venues on the website include Bleak Street B&B and Grim Retreat which are accompanied by dismal mock reviews.

Figures obtained by the charity show that over half of local authorities in England place care leavers in squalid B&Bs for over 28 days.

The site is part of Barnardos’ Beyond Care campaign that asks people to lobby their local councillors to secure better housing conditions for care leavers.

Councillor Stephen Alambritis, leader of Merton Council, told SW Londoner he is committed to tackling this problem, he said: “Merton is committed to a better deal for our care leavers.

“We have worked with our children in care council and our care leavers to renew our children in care and care leavers pledge.”

Mr Alambritis also said the council is working on a new care leavers strategy which should be completed by the end of the year.

The mock website mirrors the experience of young people left to live in bleak conditions upon coming out of care.

Jack, 18, left care at 16 and had to stay in B&B accommodation for over three months, he said the experience was so bad it left him contemplating whether to end it all.

“The B&B was above a pub so I’d have to endure extreme noise levels and drunk people banging on my door late at night,” he said.

“There was no heating in the room and the TV wouldn’t work, so I quickly became very depressed and lonely.

“On more than one occasion I contemplated suicide.”

The campaign has already provoked a strong response on social media, with tweeters expressing their support for Barnardo’s.

For more information, visit or search #carebandb.

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