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An assembly with a difference

St John's Catholic Primary School in Camborne had an assembly with a difference when Amanda Addo, a manager from Coastline’s Homeless Service, spoke to children about what it's like to live without a home of your own.

 

The school got in touch with the Homeless Service to ask staff to give a talk to Key Stage 2 pupils and the children put together a list of questions they wanted answering about why people become homeless and how they can be helped after that.

 

Two people who currently live at Chi Winder helped answer the children's questions beforehand and Amanda presented their answers at an online assembly and busted some myths.

 

The children are giving up something for lent which they are going to donate to Chi Winder. One of the teachers said: “The children were so engaged and really interested in the experiences of the residents. Thank you so much for taking the time to help them learn!”

 

We thought you might also be interested to hear the children’s questions and the accompanying answers from staff and residents. You can read them here:

 

Why do people end up homeless?

This is challenging to answer as there is no one single reason why someone ends up needing to access a homeless service and everyone has a unique and personal way in which they need to be supported.

 

Is there support for people to learn to read and manage their money?

We have a Money Management course and staff are currently supporting three people to do their English and Maths GCSEs. One of the Chi Winder residents explained how they ran their own successful business but, due to a mental health breakdown, they were unable to continue to do this. They stated they are now getting employment support from Building Futures and working with the mental health team to get the treatment they need to get back on their feet. The person felt it was important for the children to understand that, although some people do need support accessing basic skills, many people in the homeless service have high skill sets and have had successful careers. They said: “It’s important not to be judgmental about why people have ended up here”

 

What support do people have at Chi Winder?

Residents said: “Massive support from the staff”; “getting involved with the activities to learn coping strategies”; “it gives you a means to rebuild your life, to have self-pride and to meet and get support from others in a similar situation”

 

What can be done so people don’t need to access the homeless service again?

Residents said: “You don’t know what life will throw at you and it maybe something out of your control that leads you to end up homeless”

“I know there is support if I need it now and will access it if I’m struggling before it gets to crisis point.”

“I have learnt patience and honesty. It can be difficult to admit if you are struggling but that’s the best way to get help.”

 

Do people have a choice whether or not they access the homeless service?

A resident said: “I could have stayed with friends or family but I chose to be here to stand on my own two feet. I am gaining the tools I need to be independent and get my own accommodation”

 

The people who gave their responses said they were glad to have the opportunity to have their voices heard and to be able to make a difference by sharing their experiences with the children.

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