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New centre launched to help prevent family conflict and youth homelessness

New centre launched to help prevent family conflict and youth homelessness

A new Scotland-wide national mediation resource centre dedicated to sparing thousands of youngsters from the “nightmare of homelessness” has been launched.

Every year, nearly 6,000 young people become homeless in Scotland because the relationship with their family breaks down.

The new Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution (SCCR) hopes to help Scotland’s current and future young people and their families, before the situation reaches breaking point.

Minister for Children and Young People, Aileen Campbell, said: “We cannot underestimate the impact an initiative like the new Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution can have in reducing family conflict – and in helping young people avoid the nightmare of homelessness because of family breakdown.

“Early intervention is critical in helping keep families together, supporting young people and their loved ones and ultimately improving their life chances. The third sector has a significant role to play in realising our ambition to make Scotland the best place in the world to grow up and the SCCR is a practical example of how that can happen.

“That’s why we are pleased to be supporting this project with almost half a million pounds of Scottish Government funding. Recent years have seen a fall in recorded homelessness among young people but more can always be done and investment in family mediation through the SCCR is an important step forward.”

SCCR was established by Edinburgh Cyrenians, a charity which works to prevent homelessness, and which is a leader in the mediation field.

New research shows 61 per cent of young people said arguments happen at home at least once a week, and 25 per cent of youngsters think about leaving home at least monthly. But the findings also showed that many professionals don’t know how to support struggling families.

SCCR plans include a national awareness-raising campaign and it will also gather the views of young people, parents, families and carers, as well as surveying front-line staff and working with local authorities and voluntary organisations across Scotland.

Diane Marr, development manager at Edinburgh Cyrenians, said: “If we can improve relationships, we can improve lives. Every year nearly 6,000 young people – the equivalent of around six high schools, end up being thrown out, or being asked to leave, or at worst, running away from home.

“We know talking is the superglue of family life. Mediation has been a major part of keeping families together and stopping youngsters becoming homeless but research showed that it’s often not available early enough; or that families don’t know where to turn for help.

“All relationships get in a tangle sometimes – but we need to make sure young people and their parents know where to turn to when they do and that the professionals they see have the right skills to help untie the knots. If that happens early on and not at the point of crisis, then we can stop our youngsters having to experience the nightmare of homelessness.”

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