Support providers launch homelessness education initiative
The content in this article may now be out of date. Please try searching for a more recent version.
Bromford Support, a leading Midlands support provider, has teamed up with Solihull Council and other local organisations to educate young people about homelessness in the borough.
Working with LoudMouth, who provide training and education through theatre, Bromford assisted in the production of school resource packs with a DVD and worksheets for five lessons focusing on the topic of homelessness amongst young people. The project also received £10,000 funding from the Department for Communities and Local Government.
With just under 120 young people identified as homeless in Solihull, 36% of the total number in the borough, providers wanted to educate young people before they experienced issues themselves.
Launched at an event held in the Solihull Arts Complex on Tuesday (17th July), the 'Young, alone and without a home' DVD features a dramatisation of four stories, with students following the issues the characters encounter such as troubled family lives. Local schools can use the pack in PSHE lessons to help pupils understand how services provided by organisations such as Bromford Support and Solihull Community Housing help to bring the stories to a conclusion. The DVD also features real life interviews with young people who have experienced homelessness, explaining the effects it can have in later life.
A number of local schools have been involved in the production and piloting of the programme including CTC Kingshurst Academy, with colleagues from Bromford including Support Worker Karl Evans and his daughter Sydney getting to show their acting prowess in the dramas.
Helen Horsfall, Service Manager for Bromford Support and part of the 'Young, alone and without a home' project team thinks the initiative is a fantastic step forward in preventing young people becoming homeless in Solihull.
"Bromford are extremely proud to be working with young people and other bodies to help prevent homelessness within our local area. LoudMouth have helped create a practical learning resource that can significantly help to reduce the number of young people who find themselves in saddening situations.
"By engaging young people through drama, video and worksheets while in school, we hope to provide Solihull's youth population with the knowledge that services like Bromford are here to help."
LoudMouth used the ideas, experiences and talents of young people from Solihull and the organisations and support services that work with them to produce the resource.
The resource pack will help young people to understand the reality of living alone and the need to make plans for their future.
The free programme will be delivered and evaluated by secondary schools across the Borough and by other services working with young people. What makes this project completely unique is that all materials are specifically tailored for Solihull, with details on local schemes, and the videos filmed with local people in and around the Solihull Borough.
The development of the Young, Alone and Without a Home resource has been a real positive example of partnership working - a number of local bodies and voluntary sector partners who provide housing and support services to young people have offered their time and expertise to develop the programme.
The five lesson programme also moves on from homelessness to tackle wider issues such as money management and independent living and has been designed to be used outside of schools by youth groups, referral units and young families schemes.
Solihull Councillor Ian Courts, Cabinet Member for Economic Development said, "To be homeless is a terrible experience, but as a young person, you are even more vulnerable. This DVD shows young people the reality of what being homeless is like, and I hope will give a clear message that leaving home is not an easy option, or one that should be taken lightly. I'm sure schools will find it an excellent tool in helping young people make the right choices. "
The project team will now be evaluating the impact of the programme and gathering feedback from young people, teachers and support workers so that the resource can continue to be developed, helping to meet the needs of young people in the borough.
LoudMouth Director Chris Cowan (Left) holds the brand new resource pack with budding actors Bromford Support Worker Karl Evans (Right) and his daughter Sydney (Centre). Hi-res version available HERE. A further image is available to download HERE.
Note to editors:
'Young, alone and with a home' partnership.
The project team are:
- Solihull Council (Housing Strategy and Children & Young People's Services)
- Solihull Community Housing
- Bromford Support
- Home Group Ltd
- Fry Housing Trust
- To raise awareness of homelessness amongst secondary age young people.
- To prevent homelessness by encouraging young people to remain living at home
- To help young people understand the reality of living alone and the need to make plans for the future BUT also being sensitive to the fact that when a home is not safe, there is help and support available.
- To demonstrate the realities of homelessness.
- To show why in most cases, it is best for a young person to continue to live at home.
- To explore the issues that could lead to homelessness and provide advice on dealing with these issues.
- To raise awareness of the realities of living alone (costs, budgeting, skills required)
- To leave young people and teachers with a lasting message about homelessness and the providers available to help.
What is the programme?
- DVD incorporating drama sessions with real life interviews with young people from Solihull who have been made homeless and are at various stages of the process.
- Resource pack for teachers detailing learning objectives, lessons plans and group activities based around the DVD material.
- Mixture of general information and specific details on how the process works in Solihull.
- 5 individual lesson plans + 1 standalone session covering the most important key messages.
- Aimed at 14-16 year olds, but remains flexible for slightly older or younger groups.
Content of the 5 Lessons:
- House or Home- The importance of a family home.
- What is homelessness? Definitions, reasons people are homelessness and what homelessness is like.
- Housing options and support- Types of accommodation and organisations that offer support.
- Independent living- Expectations of living alone and responsibilities that comes with living alone.
- Managing money- The need to budget, costs of living alone and consequences of not budgeting correctly.