A PIONEERING Charnwood scheme to save young people from homelessness has won a major national award.
The Bridge & Charnwood Borough Council won the Third Sector Engagement Award at the prestigious Children & Young People Now Awards in London, beating competition from 421 national entries
The award was in recognition of The Bridge’s Single Access Point (SAP), a specialist service which works with 16- and 17-year-olds at risk of becoming homeless or with housing problems.
SAP has helped reduce the number of nights young people spend in bed and breakfast accommodation in Charnwood from 1,600 in 2007/08 to just 33 in 2010/11.
Peter Davey, Chief Officer at The Bridge, which is based in Leicester Road, Loughborough, said: “The Bridge works hard to deliver high quality services for the people of Charnwood. We have developed an excellent partnership with Charnwood Borough Council and together we have a long history of developing new and innovative ways of working.
“This particular service is funded by the Council and is an excellent example of spend to save and make the best of limited resources.
“I am extremely proud that this national award recognises the excellent service which we provide to young people at risk of homelessness and also our joint work with Charnwood Borough Council.”
The Single Access Point service doesn’t just ensure young people have shelter. It looks at all aspects of their lives and supports them with training, education and employment, as well as providing access to health services, family support and social services.
The team also works with whole families to prevent young people from becoming homeless. This includes helping rebuild relationships and deal with problems such as drug and alcohol misuse. Mediation for young people and their families is on offer from The Bridge’s Talk2Sort service.
Councillor Jane Hunt, Charnwood Borough Council’s Cabinet member for housing, said: “Single Access Point is an amazing example of how the voluntary and public sector can work hand-in-hand to achieve great things.
“Homeless young people are among the most vulnerable members of our society so scheme such as this are critical. I’d like to say well done to everyone whose hard work has contributed to this incredible national recognition.”
The award was given to the local authority and voluntary sector partnership which has done the most to work with and improve the lives of children, young people and their families.
The Children & Young People Now Awards are now in their sixth year and the ceremony was held in London’s West End on November 17, 2011.