Landlord who grew up in care helps care leavers across Nottingham
By the time Terry Galloway left care at 16, he had lived in more than a hundred places. As a young person growing up in care in the 1980s, losing friends, losing his home and having to start again was normal for him.
While Terry says his experiences of living in care were ‘up and down’-there is a memory from his childhood he will always treasure. In fact, that is what motivates him to this day as he campaigns for better outcomes for children in care and care leavers. “I remember the first time as if it happened only last week”, begins Terry. “It was a sunny September day, and a black cab turned up at the children’s home where I was living, covered in fairy lights and tinsel. “We were told we’d be heading for a day out to Blackpool to see the lights. I’d never been to the seaside before, and I was incredibly excited to be going somewhere new.
As we turned around the corner there were over 200 taxis covered in decorations, filled with excited kids from all the other children’s homes and foster homes across Manchester. “People had come out and were lining the streets cheering and waving. We felt so special. “As it got dark we drove along the promenade in convoy looking in amazement at the Blackpool illuminations. I will never forget that day, I was inspired.”
Thirty years later and Terry, now a successful landlord and businessman, decided to recreate the memory.
He arranged to take seven coaches with more than 350 children from children’s homes across Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire to Alton Towers. “I really wanted to do something for the children in the position that I was in”, says Terry: “Living in care you can feel very alone, so it was lovely to see the kids having fun and making friends”.
He is planning to organise a similar trip later this year. Terry is just as passionate about helping those in children’s homes as he is about creating opportunities for those who are leaving the care system.
The police convoy escorting the children to Alton Towers
According to figures from the National Audit Office, around 10,000 people leave care in this country every year. “I struggled when I left care, as did my brother and sister”, says Terry. “We had lived such chaotic lives, we had not learned how to live independently. We were vulnerable and people took advantage of us. “When I left the care system I wanted to be independent. I was now 16 and knew everything, but really I knew nothing. “I needed a stable home, good support, good role models, jobs and mentoring. Most kids have the support of their families, and the bank of mum and dad. Care leavers don’t have that, they are on their own, they have to pay all the bills, run their own home and get a job.”
Terry saved everything he could to buy his first house at auction, and, having been a landlord for more than 10 years, in 2018 set up his own company Norman Galloway Property Management – his full name being Norman Terry Galloway.
He has since worked with local authorities to put together a model for care leavers. Last year, it became a requirement for local authorities to publish ‘The Local Offer for Care Leavers’, as part of the Children and Social Work Act 2017.
The offer outlines the services that are available for care leavers. Terry was instrumental in shaping the joint care leaver offer introduced by Nottinghamshire County Council, and its seven districts in April this year. Its Local Offer is the first of its kind in the country. It includes a council tax exemption for care leavers in work, in place until they are 25 years old, and access to leisure centres and gyms to help with health and wellbeing. There is also ‘tenancy training’ for tenants- which Terry helped develop. He said: “Councils can place an 18 year old who has come from the care system into a home in the private rented sector, but that young adult is quite vulnerable, may not know what their responsibilities are, and as a result could fall into rent arrears.
“Once someone is preparing to leave care, they are given the tenancy training and a certificate to prove it. “This will give landlords confidence that the young person understands what a tenancy agreement is, and hopefully that makes for a strong tenant-landlord relationship”.
Following the success of the Nottinghamshire project, a similar Local Offer for young adults leaving care is being created in Leicestershire and Derbyshire involving over 25 councils. And it’s only the beginning. Terry said: “This is only the start; the young people need to be prepared while in care so that when they leave they have the best start. The aim is to create a national model and roll it out to other councils. The initial goal is to reach 27 joint offers in over 200 two-tier authorities. Once we get that power we can talk to government to add more to the offers, like guaranteed job opportunities and apprentice living wage subsidies through the apprentice levy transfer mechanism for those who have lived in care”.
Unsurprisingly, it is not just care leavers who are benefitting from Terry’s generosity. The work he has done has inspired him to think of new ways to help out his own tenants. He said: “At Norman Galloway Property Management we have a process of helping landlords to work with their tenant, if things are not running smoothly.
“Some landlords come to us with stories of quite difficult tenants that they want to evict, but the landlord is sometimes unsure how best to approach the situation. We help them to understand the issues and develop action plans with the tenants.
“If a tenant is struggling to manage their money we put them in touch with someone who can give them financial advice, we can also refer them to organisations who can help them with their mental health. “By spending time doing this, tenants have turned their lives around”. Terry has now signed a deal with seven councils to help them with the rapid rehousing pathway which has the goal of preventing homelessness and ending rough sleeping totally by 2027.