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Book to help youngsters

PUBLISHED: 10:43 26 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:52 30 June 2010

Young people who have experienced abuse, broken homes, drug addiction and mental health problems have come together to write a book to show other youngsters how they overcome a range of problems they faced.

Young people who have experienced abuse, broken homes, drug addiction and mental health problems have come together to write a book to show other youngsters how they overcome a range of problems they faced.

Almost 40 youngsters aged between 13 and 19, who live in hostels around Norfolk, have written a book called Home Truths, which was launched this week and is being sent to schools across the eastern region.

The book also details experiences of bullying and bereavement, and discusses issues which can lead to homelessness, based on the young people's experiences.

It is currently being used and developed at Framingham Earl High School by English and drama teacher Joc Mack.

She said: “It's ideal because the pupils feel they can relate to it, as it is about things that have happened on their doorstep, and there are local place references and things too.

“It's great literature because you can either read it in-depth or dip in and out of it. It's very powerful. I think it will definitely help the pupils become aware of issues surrounding homelessness, and hopefully mean they don't find themselves going down the same path.”

The book involves teenagers from Red Balloon in Norwich, the Norwich Central YMCA and The Benjamin Foundation hostels in Yarmouth, Fakenham and North Walsham.

The project was funded by Mediabox, a charity that helps young people with media projects, and was managed by Media Projects East, a Norwich company which specialises in helping young people produce films, animations and books.

Martin Sercombe, project director at Media Projects East, said: “Many of the stories in Home Truths have positive outcomes and provide insights into the available support networks and the help they can provide.

“There is also a signpost section for any reader who might be facing similar problems and is looking for help or guidance. The project has been youth led from the initial idea to the printed book and media professionals provided the creative skills needed along the way.”

Matt Garrod, operational manager at The Benjamin Foundation, added: “Many of our young people have underachieved in formal more traditional educational settings, so this project gave a diverse learning opportunity to our young people in a less formal format and setting. I am very impressed with the Home Truths work.”

Each story has been illustrated with drawings, photographs and paintings, and has given the young people a chance to develop their skills in those areas, as well as improving their confidence.

For more information or to order a copy, visit www.mediaprojectseast.co.uk/hometruths.htm.

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