Charities line up to fight youth homelessness

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​Social media campaign to teach people to resolve family conflict in a bid to combat youth homelessness

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13th November 2014 by Paul Cardwell 0 Comments

Scottish charity leaders and some well known faces from the worlds of politics and entertainment have got together to reveal what makes their blood boil for a new campaign to reduce youth homelessness.

With almost 5,000 16-24 year-olds in Scotland becoming homeless due to tension at home Cyrenians’ Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution (SCCR) has launched the Stop. Talk. Listen. campaign to highlight ways to stop arguments getting out of control.

The new campaign asks members of the public to upload a selfie to a specially designed social media wall – revealing ‘what’s been the biggest cause of arguments at home?’

With SCCR’s research showing 61% of young people say arguments happen at home at least once a week, and one in four admitting they think about leaving once a month, the aim of the campaign is to get everyone thinking about how these issues can be resolved to avoid longer term resentments and fall-outs.

Among those lining up to support the campaign (see the TFN list here) are chief executive and founder of Street Soccer Scotland David Duke, who was homeless himself, and former Big Brother winner Cameron Stout.

With nearly 5,000 young people becoming homeless every year because their relationships at home fall apart, we can’t ignore the impact on young people

Duke said staying out late and problems at school were always a source of discussion at home for him with Stout suggesting pausing and thinking about what others may be going through before getting involved in an argument with them.

Also backing the campaign are chief executive of Young Scot and one of 2014’s top 30 charity #socialceos Louise MacDonald, chief executive of Relationships Scotland Stuart Valentine, director of Scottish Mediation Network Graham Boyack, Nick Harleigh-Bell of Homeless Action Scotland, SCCR patron and mediator Drew Drummond and Cyrenians chief executive Ewan Aitken.

The campaign was launched at today’s SCCR’s conference, where around 40 young people came together to design a range of resources aimed at helping other young people to resolve conflict at home.

“With nearly 5,000 young people becoming homeless every year because their relationships at home fall apart, we can’t ignore the impact on young people, for example on their education, or mental health and wellbeing, or for society as a whole,” Diane Marr of the SCCR explained.

“We want to get people thinking about arguments in the house. Often they can start with small things until before you know it, things have got out of hand and gone too far.

“We want families to think about how they can stop those arguments and help them to talk and listen to each other. Sometimes relationships get tangled for all sorts of reasons, and by talking, listening and learning to support each other we can help to untangle them.”

She added: "As a country it’s time for us to stop, talk and listen – or risk thousands more becoming homeless every year.”

The campaign has also received the backing of Scotland’s commissioner for children and young people Tam Baillie and housing minister Margaret Burgess.

Baillie said: “Unfortunately when family conflicts are not resolved through dialogue, young people can end up homeless and the loss of security that brings can be very destructive to their mental health and wellbeing.

“I hope this campaign can raise awareness among young people and families to find more constructive ways to deal with conflict and avoid the difficulties, personal and financial costs and hurt that comes with being catapulted into adult life before you’re ready for it.”