Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 15°C

min temp: 9°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Ipswich: MP claims teenagers are being ‘dragged into the wrong crowds’ because they are being housed in B&Bs after leaving care at 16

14:44 13 May 2014

Bed and breakfast

Bed and breakfast


Ipswich teenagers leaving care have been left languishing in bed and breakfasts for weeks, an MP has said following a recent visit to the town.


Education select committee member Alex Cunningham said youngsters from Suffolk were being put in “unsafe placements” and were being dragged into the “wrong crowds” following the fact-finding visit as part of a national probe into options for care post-16.

But Suffolk County Council said that the placements were only used in exceptional circumstances, such as night-time family crises or when dealing with cases with very specific requirements, and currently just nine out of 720 young people in care were in B&Bs.

Gordon Jones, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for children’s services, said: “B&B placements are always made for as short a period as possible.

“The use of B&B accommodation is reviewed weekly and has decreased significantly in the last year.

“We will of course continue to monitor this closely so that we can keep the number of placements to a minimum.”

The MP made the comments during a select committee evidence session looking at how suitable and safe alternative accommodation provided by local authorities is.

The Government recently announced a new legal duty on local authorities to financially support every care leaver who wants to stay with their foster parents until their 21st birthday.

But the new law does not apply to young people living in residential children’s homes, or those placed in alternative types of accommodation.

Education committee member Mr Cunningham said during the evidence session said: “We have had young people who have told us they have been left languishing in a bed and breakfast for weeks on end.”

While committee chairman Graham Stuart said he had met children in Suffolk, some who had talked about provisions being “not that fantastic”. “It was mixed, if I remember,” he added.

Denise Hatton, national secretary and chief executive of YMCA England, told the committee: “We have a really good example of what is suitable for 16 and 17-year-olds in particular in Suffolk, where we have purchased a number of houses in residential areas.

“We would have a house with four bedrooms, but it would be supported accommodation, so there would be a trusted adult, on-site, staying overnight and working with those 16 and 17-year-olds to support them.”

The MPs visited YMCA accommodation as part of their visit to Suffolk, but they also saw other providers and met a number of young people.

Angela Thornton, director of accommodation at the YMCA in Suffolk, said that the recently refurbished homes in Norwich Road provided 24-hour-a-day, seven-days-a-week support. The charity has 165 bed spaces across Suffolk.

She said: “We have come away from historic provision across the country when we had people working nine until 5pm or working shifts. We now offer a different model of service.”

She added the visit from the MPs was “all very positive”. “I did not get any negative feedback. The young people and the staff felt they had made a contribution to the way things would move forward. ”



  • Waspie's wife ..Yes I'm pleased this is being highlighted and I agree with hayley and lee, except because there are not enough supported units provided by the council social services have no choice in the emergency situations they face.. I agree about the areas they are well known.

    Report this comment


    Tuesday, May 13, 2014

  • I am so glad this point has been highlighted as i've been saying it for years. The majority of the B&B's the council use are situated in the high crime areas, with some even in the centre of the 'red light district'. To me that is nowhere for any vulnerable youngster to be housed, but it seems to be ok with the council, in particular social services, who i am under the belief are meant to protect children in their care.

    Report this comment

    hayley and lee

    Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Dr John Ashdown-Hill from Lawford is made an MBE by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.  Photo: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

A historian who was instrumental in the discovery of Richard III’s remains has today been presented with an MBE.

Pedestrian rail crossing just off Mount Road, Bury St Edmunds.

Lifesaving police officers who pulled a drunk and suicidal man off the train tracks near Bury St Edmunds seconds before a train flew past are up for a national bravery award.

Broomhill Swimming Pool in Ipswich has received a Heritage Lottery Fund grant. L-R: Robyn Llewellyn (head of Heritage Lottery Fund - East of England), Cllr Bryony Rudkin, Tim Mills, Garath Jones and Mark Ling.

Broomhill pool in Ipswich could reopen to the public at Easter 2018 – its 80th anniversary – after its re-opening proposals got the backing of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Average speed camera.

Average speed cameras on the A12 on the Essex and Suffolk border have not yet been switched on – three months after they were installed.

The Memorial Hall  in Drinkstone

The village of Drinkstone is remembering another of its fallen First World War soldiers with a special exhibition.

Georgia and Jodie Mutch have lost 8.5 stone between them after joining Slimming World. The sisters are pictured in Ipswich. Georgis is on left on the latest photo

Jodie Mutch and sister Georgia are celebrating new slim-line figures after losing five stone and three stone respectively.


Four unemployed mechanics turned van thieves who set up a secret “chop shop” to strip down stolen vehicles were foiled when satellite technology led police straight to the site.

Gainsborough's House.

One of the most powerful women in the fashion world is backing a bid to put Gainsborough’s birthplace on the map as a major national tourist attraction.

The woman was taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital. Photo credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire


Police are investigating a crash which happened in Beccles yesterday lunchtime.

Thomas Harvey's winning entry in the Landguard Photography Competition 2015.

Stunning photographs of Suffolk’s most southerly point attracted big interest on-line with around 800 people voting for their favourite.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages