“Railway Children” project supports at-risk youths
Vulnerable youngsters living on the streets of London will benefit from extra support through a charity pilot project.
The Railway Children has teamed up with insurer Aviva and the New Horizon Youth Centre to launch a one-year pilot project supporting young runaways.
The project will run in partnership with North London local authorities, youth services and the police to provide support to young people living on the streets near Kings Cross and Euston stations.
It has been funded by a £50,000 investment as part of the Railway Children's work with Aviva and is being launched ahead of the Olympics to help the 500 young people the charity predicts will be at risk on the capital's streets during the games.
The Railway Children also predicts that one in six of these will be sleeping rough and most will be unable to seek professional help.
Terina Keene, Railway Children chief executive, said: "When children go missing, they are at very serious risk of physical abuse, sexual exploitation and may resort to desperate measures to survive.
"This pilot project is integral to rolling out our Reach programme, a safety net of measures to protect young runaways, and is launched at a time when demand for its services is likely to spike.
"Euston and Kings Cross are central travel hubs for the Olympics and will inevitably be a magnet for a greater number of vulnerable young people caught up in the increased traffic and excitement, putting themselves at risk."
Jon Snow, Channel 4 News presenter and chairman of New Horizon, said: "Since New Horizon first arrived in Kings Cross in 1994, it's helped thousands of young people at risk on the streets, from sleeping rough to prostitution, gaining their trust and offering support when it was most needed. By bringing together Railway Children and New Horizon, we have an opportunity to apply experience and innovation to prevent the most vulnerable from being pushed into London's darkest and most dangerous corners."
Stephanie Maier, head of corporate responsibility at Aviva Investors, said: "This is a fantastic project which we hope will make a meaningful contribution to the lives of children living on the streets around Kings Cross."
UK Press Association
5 July 2012