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12 October 2020

South Tyneside charity’s £90,000 funding boost

South Tyneside youth homeless charity KEY Project has been awarded £90,000 from The Mercers’ Charitable Foundation (for which The Mercers’ Company is Corporate Trustee) to expand its Reconnect and Family Intervention team.

The work of KEY project aligns closely with the Mercers’ Company’s Church and Communities programme which is designed to strengthen communities and families by building positive inclusive relationships between people. The funding has enabled KEY Project to secure a new full-time Family Intervention Officer for the next three years.

The good news was received earlier this year, but recruitment was unavoidably delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, interviews have now taken place and the successful candidate will commence in post later this month.

Family relationship breakdown is the most common cause of youth homelessness. KEY has been supporting and resourcing families to prevent the breakdown of relationships between parents and young people for over 15 years. This major award will enable the charity to provide better outcomes for an increased number of families.

KEY’s Reconnect and Family Intervention Team was formally established in 2018 to support families dealing with an immediate crisis and to help develop their long-term resilience to meet future life challenges positively.

Provision includes advocacy; behaviour management; drop-in sessions; mediation; opportunities to meet families in similar situations; social activities and signposting to other support services.

In its inaugural year, the service provided 65 young people, aged 11-16, from 50 families with intervention support; while 210 families with young people aged 16-24 received mediation and 180 returned home with only 10% re-presenting as homeless.

Ross Allen, Executive Lead at KEY, said:
“Demand for our Reconnect and Family Intervention service has exceeded all expectations. Thanks to the funding we have received from The Mercers’ Charitable Foundation, following a highly competitive selection process, the appointment of a second Reconnect and Family Intervention Officer will enable us to extend our provision to work with an additional 80 families each year.”

“Timely family intervention keeps more families together by preventing further escalation and reducing the risk of children and young people being made homeless or taken into care. The aim wherever possible is to keep children and young people safely with their families and in their own community.”

Matthew Roche, Church & Communities Grants Programme Manager, The Mercers’ Company (Corporate Trustee to The Mercers’ Charitable Foundation) said:

“It is great that the Mercers’ Charitable Foundation can support the invaluable work of KEY Project. The Family Intervention Team provides much needed help to those facing significant pressures, supporting positive relationships between parents and children, and therefore also preventing youth homelessness.”

For more information about The Mercers’ Company and The Mercers’ Charitable Foundation, visit www.mercers.co.uk .