Sharing home truths about homelessness

Sam EmanuelThey have experienced broken homes, drug addiction, abuse and mental health problems, but a group of youngsters from hostels around Norwich have come through it and written a book to show other young people that even the toughest of problems can be overcome.Sam Emanuel

They have experienced broken homes, drug addiction, abuse and mental health problems, but a group of youngsters from hostels around Norwich have come through it and written a book to show other young people that even the toughest of problems can be overcome.

Almost 40 young people who have found themselves homeless or who are supported by local charities such as Red Balloon, wrote the book, called Home Truths, based on their own real-life experiences.

The book discusses issues which can lead to homelessness, and has been sent to all the secondary schools and youth agencies in the Eastern region.

One of the chapters, which suggests how the book could be used in the classroom, is now being used and developed at Framingham Earl High School.


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The project was funded by Mediabox, a charity that helps young people with media projects, and was managed by Media Projects East, a Norwich company which specialises in helping young people produce films, animations and books.

Martin Sercombe, project director at Media Projects East, said: 'Many of the stories in Home Truths have positive outcomes and provide insights into the available support networks and the help they can provide.

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'There is also a signpost section for any reader who might be facing similar problems and is looking for help or guidance.

'The project has been youth led, from the initial idea to the printed book, and media professionals provided the creative skills needed along the way.'

Matt Garrod, operational manager at The Benjamin Foundation, a charity which runs hostels in Norfolk in which some of the young people live, added: 'Many of our young people have underachieved in formal, more traditional educational settings, so this project gave a diverse learning opportunity to our young people in a less formal format and setting. I am very impressed with the Home Truths work.'

Each story has been illustrated with drawings, photographs and paintings, and has given the young people a chance to develop their skills in those areas as well as improving their confidence.

For more information or to order a copy, visit www.mediaprojectseast.co.uk/home_truths.htm

Have you done something to help or engage young people? Call Sam Emanuel on 01603 772438 or email sam.emanuel@archant.co.uk.

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