Young people across the country will be given help and support to resolve disputes with their families that are likely to lead to them becoming homeless, thanks to a grant from Leicestershire & Rutland Freemasons to The Bridge (East Midlands) charity.

The £59,000 grant will fund the talk2sort Meditation Service, which works with young people aged 11-19, and their families, who may be having problems at home or with their relationships, supporting them to explore ways of resolving conflict.

talk2sort, is a nationally commended meditation service that supports young people who are at risk of homelessness through running away or being asked to leave their family home. This results in low educational attainment, substance abuse, anti-social behaviour, involvement in crime, poor physical and mental health, and risk of violence and abuse. The meditation sessions are led by qualified meditators on a one to one basis and in family groups, providing a safe, confidential space for young people and families to talk about their experience and explore their conflict. Support is ongoing until the conflict is resolved.

The Freemasons’ grant will pay for an additional mediator for the next two years, which will enable the charity to reduce their waiting list and support an additional 68 young people before they reach crisis point.

Outcomes of the service are very positive, with 92 per cent of clients feeling their home and family relationships had improved, while 100 per cent of young people reported feeling closer to other people and felt they are dealing with problems well and 100 per cent were able to access or stay in education, training, or employment.

Young people continue to be increasingly at risk of homelessness with 129,000 young people in the UK asking for help with homelessness in 2021/22, with the East Midlands experiencing the biggest increases this year, with 1,139 young people across Leicestershire alone. Cost of living rises continue to exacerbate the problem increasing stress and anxiety and leading to family breakdown as the leading cause of youth homelessness in 47 per cent of cases.

We’re very grateful to Leicestershire & Rutland Freemasons for their generous grant. Thanks to them we’ll be able to help young people and their families resolve their differences and crucially reduce the levels of homelessness young people are experiencing right across our country.

Anna Maudsley, Head of Programmes and Services from The Bridge (East Midlands)

I am very pleased we have been able to help The Bridge with their excellent project. By helping families and their children to overcome their difficulties they can not only reduce the risk of these young people becoming homeless but also make a major contribution to improving their mental health.

Peter Kinder, Head of Leicestershire & Rutland Freemasons

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