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Draw a picture
Of a house or flat on flip chart sheet and then get the group to pretend they are going to be living there. Get them to think about, write and draw the things they might need. Click for an example.
Explain they are likely to be living in a shared house or flat, maybe they already do. Talk about living with other people. Write down or draw some of the problems there may be
Get a bag with some stuff in that a person would carry with them. The point is to put everyday stuff in the bag reflecting a person. You can 'create' the identity of the person.
For example if it's a working woman - lipstick, a mirror, a driving licence, maybe a one-way bus ticket, photos (maybe one of a child). Be creative - it can be fun!
Then put the bag down in the middle of the group, tip out the objects and get them to assess what person would own the bag. It throws up all sorts of questions.
Get a newspaper advert for a flat - or some info from an Estate Agent. Then put this in front of the young people and go through the process of moving into a flat.. things such as buying, renting, the other people in there, relationships, tax, cooking etc.
Money - cooking - pretty essential to be able to budget.
For this exercise, get some money and give the young people that money telling them to imagine they (1 person) have to survive for a week on what they buy. Send them down to the supermarket and see what they come back with - be careful, the local supermarket near us has banned under-18s from shopping due to assaults on staff
Alternatively (and more cheaply!), you can price up a load of goods from a supermarket then put the list in front of them, give them an imaginary budget and see what they come up with!
A guest or two
Why not get people in to help - we've had support from under 18s drugs workers. We are also going to get people in from the Benefits Agency to look at forms and how to fill them in without getting screwed by unscrupulous types. We also had guests in like ex drug users, young mums, ex-offenders and a prison officer. You could also get a Youth Affairs Police Officer in if appropriate. We are also going to do self-defence stuff
If you have guests in from agencies or if you want to do this yourselves, set up and exercise where the young people have to go to 'talk' to a range of people about a range of issues - benefit claim, jobseekers allowance, housing benefit, electricity bill etc. Have adults or the experts act out a scenario and encourage the young person to try and deal with the range of issues involved.
Afterwards you can point out helpful hints, the group can share ideas together (iif they feel like it!)
Get them doing life skills
Phone calls, asking for information from a local bowling alley about prices for example. Writing letters to someone etc.