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Mediation centre to help stop thousands of youths becoming homeless

Almost 6000 young people became homeless in 2012/13 due to family breakdowns.

Homeless: The scheme has reduced the number of homeless people by 62%.
© STV

A national mediation centre will be set up to help prevent thousands of young people from becoming homeless as a result of family breakdowns.

Plans for the Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution (SCCR), which aims to keep families together, have already received the support of Children's Minister Aileen Campbell.

Scottish Government figures show almost 6000 young people became homeless in 2012/13 due to family breakdowns.

The new centre will be established by Edinburgh Cyrenians, a charity which works to prevent homelessness.

Plans for the service were revealed at a conference, What's the point in talking? The Superglue of Family Life, in Glasgow, while MSPs will also hear about it at a special reception in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday.

Ms 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 £500,000 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."

The mediation centre's services will include conferences, seminars and training events across Scotland.

Diane Marr, development manager at Edinburgh Cyrenians, said: "If we can improve relationships, we can improve lives.

"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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