£645,000 funding boost for Dundee young runaways service

£645,000 funding boost for Dundee young runaways service

A service which helps young runaways and their families has had a funding boost of over £645,000 from to the Big Lottery Fund.

The Dundee-based service, run by Shelter Scotland and Relationships Scotland, helped over 180 young people and their families since its launch in 2011.

The Big Lottery has now awarded the service a further £645,709 through its Investing in Communities Fund.

It is estimated that there are almost 12,000 incidents of young people running away from home each year in Scotland. Shelter Scotland says that whether they’re sleeping rough or sofa surfing with friends, runaways are extremely vulnerable.

Research by the charity shows that 84 per cent of today’s young homeless people in Scotland under 25 years of age ran away at least once before they were 16 years old, compared with an 11 per cent average for young people generally.

20 per cent of the runaways who are now homeless first ran away before they were 11 years old.

Shelter Scotland director Graeme Brown said the project made an “invaluable impact” on youngsters in need.

He said: “Today’s runaways are tomorrow’s young homeless people and if we are serious about preventing homelessness then addressing why children and young people run away is essential.

“Safe and Sound has had an invaluable impact on the lives of many young people and their families since its launch, and will continue to do so thanks to this funding from the Big Lottery Fund.

“We look forward to continuing our work with Relationships Scotland to offer help to those who need it most and, where possible, prevent homelessness by facilitating the safe return of young runaways to their family home.

“Where this is not possible we will help them to find and keep a home of their own, while continuing to support them through the family mediation service to sustain and improve family relationships.”

Stuart Valentine, chief executive of Relationships Scotland, added: “For three years now Safe & Sound has offered family mediation to young people and their families, giving them the opportunity to work through their conflict and strengthen their relationship.

“We’re delighted to work with Shelter Scotland in offering this lifeline to help protect some of the most vulnerable young people in our society.”

Big Lottery Fund Scotland chair, Maureen McGinn, said: “I am delighted that Safe & Sound is one of the latest groups to receive an award from our Investing in Communities fund. This is life changing money that will benefit those people and communities most in need. This grant will make a big difference where it is needed most and I wish Safe & Sound every success as it goes on to develop and expand its project.”

In 2013, the Safe & Sound service won a Care Accolades - the ‘Oscars’ of the social services sector.

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