Young homeless people have been given a voice in a series of short films created to challenge misconceptions about them.
Blackpool’s Streetlife shelter, which supports people aged 16-25 who are homeless in the town, has published six mini documentaries featuring a group of youngsters who have found themselves on the streets.
Project organisers set out to show that homeless people are not to be feared, shunned or dismissed and that they have hopes, dreams and ambitions like anyone else.
And they wanted to highlight that exceptional circumstances, often not of their own making, have often caused them to be homeless.
Jane Hugo, chief executive of Streetlife, said: “Our clients are often labelled as problematic or untrustworthy, and young people feel there is a negative stigma attached to attending drop-in sessions or sleeping in the night shelter.
“This project has helped our young people to give a more positive image of themselves and Streetlife.”
The films set out to show that the young people are more than just homeless –they are sons, daughters, musicians, artists or sportsmen – and to boost their self esteem.
The Lottery-funded project, In Focus, saw film company Red 8 work with young people to create material, including films, animations and info graphics, to illustrate what it means to be homeless.
They were encouraged to express feelings, through drawings, audio, poetry, props and film, during a series of creative workshops.
Ms Hugo added: “We would like to add worth to the lives of our clients by focussing on positive aspects of their characters, their skills and their dreams.
“We also believe we can educate the community about the facts of being young and homeless in Blackpool.
Artist Andrew Gledhill, who worked with the young people, said: “We hope the films will combat and challenge attitudes and perceptions of homelessness as well as promote the services of Streetlife.”
View the films at www.streetlifeinfocus.co.uk.