M re than just shelter
“I have the power to change everything. I don’t look down now.” Emilyn
Centrepoint is the national charity for homeless young people. With no place to call home they find themselves on the street. Lonely, confused and vulnerable, their future is bleak. Centrepoint is committed to helping them turn their lives around. To give them hope and make them believe they have a future. It’s more than just shelter.
“The first night, I cried. I’d heard stories about hostels, about how people get the doors kicked in and stuff. At Buffy house everyone is more or less the same age so I wasn’t scared of them, just not sure about how they would be.” mia
Homelessness is not a lifestyle choice. Young people don’t leave home without a reason. Abuse, neglect, depression and fear push them onto the street. For some, staying is much more dangerous than leaving. Our first contact with young people is when they come to us for a safe place to sleep. Every year Centrepoint provides nearly 300,000 nights accommodation to homeless young people. Almost half of them have slept rough. A safe place to sleep is a start. For many it’s the first positive environment they’ve experienced for some time. But simply putting a roof over a young person’s head is not enough.
“I feel lighter and calmer. Happier, I guess… Therapy taught me how to play with new experiences and ideas and that has made me stronger. Life feels a lot more as something to enjoy and learn from… not necessarily something to be dreaded.” KIM
Homelessness and poor health are a devastating combination. Young people struggling to cope on the streets often develop health problems: physically, mentally and emotionally.
One in five people who come to Centrepoint have abused drugs or alcohol and just over 10% have mental health problems. Tackling health issues is a critical step towards giving them the strength to get their lives back on track.
â€œWhat I like about Centrepoint is that they care about all aspects of your life, not just where you live. They support you emotionally as well as with practical things like getting a college course and sorting out benefits.â€? RUTH
If you can do the simple things like cook a meal and pay the bills youâ€™re free to focus on your hopes and dreams. Not everyone is so fortunate.
At Centrepoint we see the unlucky ones. A third of these young people have problems reading and writing, and nearly the same number are refugees or asylum seekers for whom every aspect of life is a challenge. Basic life skills are an essential part of the support we give to build young peopleâ€™s self esteem and help them move on.
â€œAt Centrepoint I did all the training courses that were on offer and picked up lots of new skills. They helped me apply to university and I was so happy when I got a place. When you are educated, you are educated for life. No one can take that away from you.â€? BINYAM
Education is not just about passing exams. Itâ€™s about gaining the knowledge and confidence to deal with the challenges of life. Homeless young people often lose the lifeline of education and the confidence that comes with it. Almost 70% of young people in this country have 1 to 4 GCSEs. Only 20% of those arriving at Centrepoint can make that claim. We give homeless young people access to education, but access is not enough. Most importantly young people need care and encouragement to develop the motivation to learn.
“I want to earn a decent wage so I can have clothes on my skin, shoes on my feet, food in my cupboard — so I don’t have to ask anyone for anything. I tell myself I can do it.” Dominique
For many young people work is the key to independence, but it is also much more than that. It is about social interaction. Often it involves teamwork. It can provide a community, even a wider family.
Helping young people into volunteering and work experience placements improves their chances of finding employment. What starts with basic shelter for homeless young people ends with independence and inclusion in society.
Since 1969 Centrepoint has helped more than 73,000 homeless young people. While they are with us we provide shelter and health care, we teach them life skills and give them educational and employment support. However, the real aim is to give them the power to regain control of their lives, to give them back their future.
It’s more than just shelter.
A safe place to stay
Providing a warm, clean safe haven away from the dangers of the street, a positive environment that encourages trust and engagement.
Physical health – tackling immediate poor health by putting young people in touch with GPs. Educating young people to take responsibility to improve and maintain their physical health. Mental Health – providing professional counseling and support for young people who face abandonment issues exacerbated by feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Helping young people to develop the life skills that are essential for independent living. Teaching young people the skills that they should have learned at home such as cooking, cleaning, living on a budget and paying bills.
Helping young people to rediscover learning and get their education back on track. Offering accessible learning opportunities through the Centrepoint ‘Life Wise’ accredited learning programmes. Helping young people to discover interests and talents and providing advice and guidance to support young people to access mainstream education and training opportunities.
Helping young people into volunteering and work placements to improve their employability and give them an insight into the world of work. Working with young people individually to identify jobs that they would like to do and support them to get into work.
Helping young people to move on from supported housing into living independently. Working with them to ensure they have the necessary skills and confidence to live independently and find move on accommodation through local authorities and our own rent deposit scheme that opens access to private rented accommodation.
40 years of supporting homeless young people If you would like to support Centrepointâ€™s work please visit our website or call the free donation line on: 0800 23 23 20
Design by Morning Photographs by Claudia Janke Print by Good News Press Centrepoint Head Office Central House 25 Camperdown Street London E1 8DZ Tel 0845 466 3400 Fax 0845 466 3500 www.centrepoint.org.uk Charity Number 292411 Registered as Centrepoint Soho ÂŠ Centrepoint 2008 The names of some young people have been changed to protect their privacy.