New project at Wells YMCA tackles homelessness in Mendip
By abbie_wells | Monday, February 04, 2013, 16:46
Mendip YMCA in Wells are part of a new initiative to prevent homelessness for young people aged 16-24 across Somerset.
Mendip YMCA at The Old Glasshouse in Wells
The service has been designed through a partnership between Somerset County Council and other council's across Somerset including Mendip District Council.
Around 150 young people are currently homeless in Somerset and almost 50 per cent of local young people say family breakdown is the reason they made a housing enquiry.
The key to this new initiative is prevention of homelessness through mediation work with families, educating young people in schools and realities of homelessness and working with colleges and Pupil Referral Units.
Pathways to Independence is the name of this new service and it will be delivered by housing providers in Mendip by Mendip YMCA.
Karen Deverell, Chief Executive of Mendip YMCA, said: "We are delighted to have been awarded the contract for Mendip.
"We have a fantastic opportunity to further develop our services to achieve improved outcomes for young people in need.
"It is so important that in this current economic climate young people starting on their journey to adulthood have help at the earliest stage to prevent homelessness and support to realise their potential.
She added: "We thank everyone who works in partnership with us and look forward to working together with you to strengthen and build the Pathway to Independence for young people in Mendip"
Chiara Yates, ex-service user, said: "I supported Mendip YMCA with the tender process by being involved in the consultation exercise for young people and I helped with the presentation to the panel as part of the interview.
"I am so pleased that Mendip YMCA have been successful. They helped me when homeless, found me a home and supported me with my education. I now volunteer in Routes drop in centre, am a volunteer at Coleford Youth Club and at college.
"I want to work with young people and give something back because of all Mendip YMCA have helped me achieve. "
Cllr Frances Nicholson, Somerset County Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: "No young person should be living on the street."
He added: "It is our priority to support and help young people to live a safe, healthy, stable and independent life.
"This new service will have a big impact on reducing the number of young people that are homeless in the county and will give vulnerable young people a more positive future."
The contracts with Mendip YMCA will start on 1st May 2013.