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Sheffield charity aims to cut young homeless numbers with new service

The Lord Mayor of Sheffield Peter Rippon, second left, officially opened the offices of Roundabout in Union Street, Sheffield, with mayoress Susan Rippon, third left, and Roundabout's chief executive Ben Keegan and deputy chief executive Tracey Jackson.

The Lord Mayor of Sheffield Peter Rippon, second left, officially opened the offices of Roundabout in Union Street, Sheffield, with mayoress Susan Rippon, third left, and Roundabout's chief executive Ben Keegan and deputy chief executive Tracey Jackson.

A new advice facility to help hundreds of young people at risk of becoming homeless has been opened in Sheffield.

Roundabout supports 150 homeless youngsters across the city every day and there is huge demand on its emergency hostel for people aged 16 to 21.

The charity has now opened a service to tackle homelessness head on and prevent young people leaving their family home.

The service, based on Union Street in the city centre, was opened by Coun Peter Rippon, Lord Mayor of Sheffield, who has picked Roundabout as one of his official charities for the year.

Ben Keegan, Roundabout chief executive, said: “The advice service came about because we were turning people away from the hostel. We were full and people would ask us what happened to them and a lot of the time we didn’t know.

“There has been a big rise in homeless youngsters and the numbers have doubled in the last two years.

“There is a lot more pressure on Sheffield Council and they have more restrictions on how they can help. They only give minimal advice and leaflets about hostels.”

Working with the whole family, the service will offer mediation between young people and parents, devising solutions that will enable a safe return home.

If it proves impossible to resolve the conflict and the youngster cannot return home, the service will be able to give advice and practical help on housing options and they will be referred to one of Roundabout’s housing and support services.

Mr Keegan said the charity is working in a similar way to St Basils in Birmingham, which helps 2,000 young people a year.

He said: “Sheffield is half the size of Birmingham so we expect to see 1,000 people a year.

“In Birmingham. they have prevented 90 per cent of people they see from becoming homeless.

“It’s about working with young people before they leave home and become homeless.”

Mr Keegan said the charity relies heavily on donations and fundraising.

The rent is being paid by Evolution Power Tools for the next three years, who also helped to refurbish the building.

The advice service is open Monday to Friday from 1pm to 4pm.

n For details, visit www.roundabouthomeless.org

 

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