Fear young parents' unit in Penzance may close

Shauna Laird (L) & Vicky Orme (R) Shauna Laird and Vicky Orme are among five women currently living at Stonham House

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A young mother from Cornwall has said she is "gutted worried and scared" after finding out the young parents' unit where she lives could close.

Shauna Laird, 23, has been at Stonham House in Penzance with her nine-month-old son Archie for a month.

She is one of five women living in self-contained flats at the property.

The charity Stonham, which runs the project, confirmed meetings were being held about its future but said no young parent would be left homeless.

Ms Laird said: "I'm pretty gutted, worried and scared because we don't know what's happening to us.

"Some of us aren't ready to leave yet.

Start Quote

You have people around you who are in the same boat as you”

End Quote Shauna Laird

"They [the staff] have said they will help us find other accommodation but we've got our own community here, it's like a big family and we'd like to stick together."

Funding cuts

Ms Laird, who is from Penzance, said she had previously been living in a privately rented flat which was "damp and not suitable for a baby".

"You have the support of the staff. You are still a single mother but you have people around you who are in the same boat as you," she said.

Each of the seven flats at Stonham House has its own kitchen, bathroom and living room and there is also a communal lounge, kitchen and garden.

The accommodation is open to young parents aged between 16 and 25 and is run by Stonham, part of Home Group, on behalf of Cornwall Council.

The charity also runs a six-bed unit in St Austell.

Joanne Ballard, head of client services, said: "We are currently speaking with commissioners regarding the support we provide to young parents in Cornwall.

"Funding cuts are affecting every provider in the county but we are working closely with commissioners to find a way to continue providing these valuable services.

"We are deeply committed to helping these young people and we will work with the local authority to find the best possible affordable solution for the parents who are affected."

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