DCSIMG

Walking the walk and talking the talk

Every year 6,000 young people become homeless because family relations break down. Picture: Paul Parke

Every year 6,000 young people become homeless because family relations break down. Picture: Paul Parke

  • by DIANE MARR
 

Let’s walk the walk to help develop talking the talk, says Diane Marr

Let’s face it, Scottish people don’t “do talking” was some of the blunt feedback Edinburgh Cyrenians received when we started the Amber mediation service in 2006. But we persevered with what is now an award-winning service, helping fragmented families stick together.

Now, eight years later, we’re delighted to establish the Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution (SCCR), thanks to funding from the Scottish Government’s Third Sector Early Intervention Fund.

This new national mediation resource centre will be dedicated to sparing thousands of youngsters from the nightmare of homelessness. Every year 6,000 young people – that’s six high schools – become homeless because family relations break down.

We have proven mediation and support can help resolve conflict and stop homelessness.

Now, the SCCR wants to develop a culture across Scotland where mediation and support for teenagers isn’t viewed as “an intervention for troubled and complex young people” but a perfectly normal, healthy, way to address conflict before it escalates. Scotland can be a place where people actually do “do talking”. We must ensure families know where to turn for support when times get tough.

We are delighted to have the support of Minister for Children and Young People Aileen Campbell, Minister for Housing and Welfare Margaret Burgess, and Sarah Boyack MSP. The work has also received backing from Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People Tam Baillie, and director of the Violence Reduction Unit, Karyn McCluskey, as well as professionals working in the field of mediation and associated professions.

We are committed to working across Scotland delivering free national conferences, training events and seminars. An interactive website is being developed that will nurture a community, support best practice and provide advice and guidance. Not only working with professionals, our focus is also engaging with young people and families.

We want to build partnerships and nurture collaboration. This is Scotland’s journey. So tell us what else do we need to do? How can we work together?

• Diane Marr is development manager at Edinburgh Cyrenians

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