Young people across the county will be given help and support to resolve disputes with their families that are likely to lead to them becoming homeless, thanks to a grant from Leicestershire & Rutland Freemasons to The Bridge (East Midlands) charity.
The £59,000 grant will fund the talk²sort Mediation Service, which works with young people aged 11-19, and their families, who may be having problems at home or with their relationships, supporting them to explore ways of resolving conflict.
talk²sort, is a nationally commended mediation service that supports young people who are at risk of homelessness through running away or being asked to leave their family home. This results in low educational attainment, substance abuse, anti-social behaviour, involvement in crime, poor physical and mental health, and risk of violence and abuse. The mediation sessions are led by qualified mediators on a one to one basis and in family groups, providing a safe, confidential space for young people and families to talk about their experience and explore their conflict. Support is ongoing until the conflict is resolved. The Freemasons’ grant will pay for an additional mediator for the next two years, which will enable the charity to reduce their waiting list and support an additional 68 young people before they reach crisis point.
Outcomes of the service are very positive, with 92 per cent of clients feeling their home and family relationships had improved, while 100 per cent of young people reported feeling closer to other people and felt they are dealing with problems well and 100 per cent were able to access or stay in education, training, or employment.
Young people continue to be increasingly at risk of homelessness with 129,000 young people in the UK asking for help with homelessness in 2021/22, with the East Midlands experiencing the biggest increases this year, with 1,139 young people across Leicestershire alone. Cost of living rises continue to exacerbate the problem increasing stress and anxiety and leading to family breakdown as the leading cause of youth homelessness in 47 per cent of cases.
The grant from Leicestershire & Rutland Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.
Anna Maudsley, Head of Programmes and Services from The Bridge (East Midlands) said:
“We’re very grateful to Leicestershire & Rutland Freemasons for their generous grant. Thanks to them we’ll be able to help young people and their families resolve their differences and crucially reduce the levels of homelessness young people are experiencing right across our county.”
Peter Kinder, Head of Leicestershire & Rutland Freemasons, said:
“I am very pleased we have been able to help the Bridge with their excellent project. By helping families and their children to overcome their difficulties they can not only reduce the risk of these young people becoming homeless but also make a major contribution to improving their mental health.”
Pictured left to right: Nic Merrett, Chairman of the Leicestershire & Rutland Freemasons’ Charity; Peter Kinder, Head of Leicestershire & Rutland Freemasons; Gill Wardhaugh, The Bridge East Midlands; Anna Maudsley, Head of Programmes & Service, The Bridge East Midlands.