National award for homelessness drive

The work of Edinburgh Cyrenians in preventing teenagers becoming homeless has won a national award.

The charity, funded by the City of Edinburgh Council , was announced as the winner in the Supporting Families category at this years Children and Young People Now awards.

The award recognises Amber, the charity's mediation and support service for young people and their families.

Amber has been helping parents and adolescents for over six years to improve relationships, reduce conflict and stop teenagers from being kicked out of, or running away from, home.

Over the past year Amber has supported 141 families from across the Lothians; with 73% of the young people at risk remaining at home. A further 9% returned to their families after sofa surfing or staying in temporary accommodation; and 15% were helped to move out in a safe and planned way.

Councillor Cammy Day, housing leader for the City of Edinburgh Council , said: "I'm delighted that the Amber project has won this national award which is a tremendous testament to the outstanding work of the Edinburgh Cyrenians. Mediation is a vital service to help young people stay with their families or move in a planned way to another home. Preventing homelessness helps young people to focus on education and employment to build a successful future."

Des Ryan, CEO of Edinburgh Cyrenians, said: "I am delighted that we have been recognised in this field. Arguments between teenagers and their parents is perfectly normal but for the families that use our services the conflict can tip over in to something more serious; and in some instances lead to the young person being asked to leave by their parents or running away.

"Amber's work is to stop that from happening and the award is great recognition for the fantastic achievements of the team."

Enhancing this early intervention work, the project also delivers conflict resolution programmes in schools and other youth settings. These workshops explore the causes and effects of family conflict, raising awareness amongst pupils and promoting positive approaches to disagreements with parents.

Viki Phillipps, Service Manager for Cyrenians Conflict Resolution Services, added: "Home should be the place we go to escape from the world, relax and enjoy ourselves. When we're fighting and arguing with our families it can feel like there's nowhere to turn to. Teenagers and those that care for them need to know that there are people who will listen and not judge and that talking truly does make a difference."

Edinburgh Cyrenians is a Scottish Charity with social welfare and environmental purposes which pioneers creative solutions to the contemporary problems faced by people on the margins of society, helping over 3,000 people a year out of homelessness, poverty, deep unemployment, with recovery from addiction and recidivism.

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