Early intervention is important in the prevention of youth homelessness. Our Schools Training and Mentoring Project (STaMP) is one of the ways we engage with young people whilst they are still in school or education to raise their awareness of the causes of homelessness, to recognise the circumstances that can lead to homelessness and raise awareness of where to go to get help before situations escalate.
Some of the young people we work with visit local schools as part of the STaMP programme along with staff members to tell their stories in school assemblies about how they became homeless or at risk of homelessness and where and how they got help. We also offer a peer mentoring service for any student in need of extra support.
We have developed a clear and reusable session and plan based on testing out a variety of approaches in the class setting.
There is strong evidence that leaving home at too young an age increases the likelihood of young people becoming homeless. STaMP sets out to address these issues by sharing information and resources with young people so that their decision making is grounded in reality and by providing workers with tools to identify and support those who show the early risk indicators of potential youth homelessness.
We want to encourage young people to think about their move from home as being part of a planned journey into adult life and not a crisis response to immediate problems.
The schools training element is offered to whole class groups usually as part of the PSHE or similar strand, of the curriculum. It is aimed at young people in years 7 and 11 of secondary education, but we have also carried out the workshops in youth groups with more of a mixed age range. It has been used in year nine classes up to Sixth form.
The Session is split into two main segments; the first being a whole group interactive exercise that looks at the triggers and impacts of homelessness with a focus on dispelling some of the myths about homelessness and the kinds of people that become homeless. The second part of the session is direct testimony from a peer educator about their experience of homelessness and its impact. This can then include some sort of written or creative exercise such as Poems to see how much students have taken on board.
Peer mentoring programme trains and engages young people who have been homeless, giving them an opportunity to share their experiences and gain skills and qualifications in the classroom and one to one mentoring other young people
It is available to young people in the schools we work with. The majority of those getting mentoring support are in years 10 and 11.
Staff can refer a young person at risk of homelessness; we will then talk through the possible support options and if it is relevant, suggest setting up a mentoring relationship.
We match the needs of the young person with the skills and experience of the mentor.
We then provide regular supervision to the mentor and make sure schools are kept up to date on how the mentoring is developing. This would be coordinated with other mentoring projects in the school that may be running. For STaMP to work well we believe that both the peer educators and the young people in schools must see some benefit from their commitment and energy.
We are flexible in terms of delivery, but need to arrange a time to meet you to talk more about how STaMP could fit into your curriculum and benefit the young people in your educational establishments.
The STaMP programme is our most wide reaching project. We currently offer this service in Birmingham, Solihull, Sandwell and North Worcestershire.