Homeless group’s cash boost

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A PILOT scheme in Kirkcaldy which raises awareness of homeless issues with young people in the town has been awarded a cash boost.

The SmartLiving Project, based at West Bridge Mill, has had its bid for £25,400 agreed - subject to the group gaining external wider role funding.

The move was approved by councillors at last Wednesday’s Kirkcaldy Area Committee.

Training

The pilot venture - developed by LinkLiving - was rolled out in the town throughout 2010/11 and involved recruiting and training young people, who had experienced homelessness, so they could go into local schools and youth clubs to talk to pupils about the difficulties of being homeless and of setting up their first home.

They also provided information on available housing options and showed a DVD to get across key messages on housing.

The young ‘peer educator volunteers’ also benefitted from taking part as it helped to boost their confidence as well as improving their employment prospects and gaining access to further education.

The money, which is conditional on the group finding other funding sources, will be used to build on the pilot project.

A report, which went before councillors at last week’s meeting, said: “From April 2011 to March 2012, SmartLiving will recruit and train 20 peer education volunteers from the Kirkcaldy area and deliver 30 peer education sessions in schools, youth clubs, careers centres, hostels, colleges and to young tenants of partner housing associations.

“An average of 15 young people will attend each peer education session resulting in an additional 450 young people benefitting from its delivery.”

The report continued: “SmartLiving will continue to work with 10 volunteers recruited in 2010/11 who have expressed a wish to continue working on the project. This will include supporting existing young volunteers to access employment, training and other volunteering opportunities.”

Educators

Young people who are interested in becoming peer educators can be referred to the service through Fife Council, Kingdom Housing Association and local voluntary organisations.

Elaine Johnston, LinkLiving director, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been given this funding, although it is conditional on wider role funding.

“It follows on from a very successful year working with our young volunteers. We will use the money to develop existing training materials and hope to set up more sessions in schools.”