Film is given royal seal of approval

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A FILM about homelessness made by a group of young people including Wallsend’s Steven Hagar has won a runner-up prize in a national competition.

The docudrama that just missed out on the top prize, titled Homeless Not Voiceless, was produced by young film-makers involved with the children’s charity Barnardo’s North East.

All those involved in making it, including 22-year-old Steven, have experience of homelessness, and they created the film to highlight the shortcomings of the system.

The film took second place in the most creative campaign category at the Hearing Unheard Voices Campaign Awards last week, and its makers were given their prize by the Princess Royal at a ceremony held at St James’s Palace in London.

The Barnardo’s film had already won a regional award handed out by the charity V-Inspired, a volunteering organisation for young people.

The film was commissioned by Barnardo’s in a bid to influence change by using research to target decision-makers and call for change.

The five young people – all in their late teens and early twenties – all wanted to use their experience of homelessness to show how, with the right help, homeless young people can turn their lives around.

Steven said: “It was an honour to meet the princess and to be able to take part in the ceremony at St James’s Palace in London.

“It felt good that the issue of youth homelessness was receiving some recognition through our film.

“It’s really important to me to help people because I got helped out of homelessness.

“I was given help and it got me out of the gutter, so I’ve got to give 100 times more back.

“There should be more support for young people and more priority given to 16 and 17-year-olds, no matter what the circumstances are.

“There are a number of problems with the system, and we really want to make changes and influence decision-makers.

“We also want to help homeless young people and show what help is available out there for them.”

Visit www.barnardos.org.uk for more information about the charity.