A dedicated support hub for young people leaving care has opened in Blackpool.
The Core is a drop-in centre where young adults can go for advice, training and social interaction after leaving local authority guardianship.
It is hoped the project, based in the town centre, will help make the transition to independent living easier and improve the prospects for children.
The Core is fitted with televisions, sofas and a fully-fitted kitchen so youngsters can cook their own food. There is also a washing machine and phone line, as well as educational games and resources.
It is open on a weekly drop-in session basis for all care leavers, with services to help with job applications, money management and housing issues.
Brett Shaw, who was himself brought up in care and now heads up the Justuz Flux group which advises the council on how to handle care leavers, said the new centre would make a huge difference.
He added: “It will give all care leavers access to the support they need, and most importantly easy access to workers on a regular basis for support. These things are vital for some young people as they have no-one else in their life to rely on other than the council.”
Coun Graham Cain, Blackpool Council’s cabinet secretary, said: “If we all think back to our own childhood, then the chances are most of us grew up with stable parents who supported and loved us every step of the way.
“Therefore, as a council and as a corporate parent, it is our duty to make sure we are the best parents we can be for our children who are in the care system too.
“I believe every single one of them has the potential to go on and do great things with their life but we have to support them every step of the way. The Core is a great way of doing that. It’s an area away from home, work or college where the young people can just come and have a chat with a friendly face get some advice and relax.
“As well as giving them the independence of cooking their own food and doing what they please, it is also a great opportunity for them to meet up with friends, make new ones and share stories with other young people who are experiencing similar circumstances.”