True Vision

films that make a difference

Britain's Street Kids

Britain's Street Kids
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53 minutes
Nick Read
Nick Read
Executive Producer:
Brian Woods
Channel 4 Dispatches,

Every day hundreds of children are forced to leave home. According to charities like Shelter, the number of homeless children is bound to rise as a result of the recent government budget cuts. To see what is in store, Dispatches follows 4 teenagers fending for themselves on the streets, in a world defined by drugs, conflict and risk.

In Edinburgh 16 year old Rachel is a street veteran. She left home aged 12, soon after she was forced to inject herself with heroin. Now she wrestles with her addiction and demons, so that ‘someone will hear my voice’.

For 16 year old Chelsey, ‘every day is a battle’ – mainly with South London’s housing officers - to find secure accommodation. Having been kicked out of several hostels, she’s running out of options.

17 year old Sophie refuses to deal with the ‘system’ at all, preferring to ‘sofa surf’ in Bristol’s squats in a state of drug-fuelled flux.

Haydon is 17 but is barely equipped to face the world on his own. Recently evicted by his mother, he is soon desperate to leave the bed & breakfast where he is placed: ‘I don’t want my independence yet, I’m too young’.

All are remarkably eloquent about why they take flight: family breakdowns, addiction, violence, neglect and abuse. An acute lack of adequate parenting is the unspoken truth behind their stories. A severe lack of consistent and effective care once they have left home becomes their reality.


How to Help

There are a few frontline counselling centres and voluntary organisations we worked with closely in the making of this film. They do fantastic work with young people, and urgently need support. They all face immense funding challenges as their state funding is reduced or withdrawn as part of the government's recent austerity measures. Anything you can do to help them would be greatly appreciated. If you specifically want to financially assist Robyn, Chelsey, Haydon or Sophie, then see the Paypal link at the top of this page.

  • Railway Children works by educating communities and lobbying governments, and helps raise funding for a select few youth projects dedicated to helping vulnerable children
  • Safe Place is a drop in centre which provides support and housing advice for young people in Bristol, and helped both Sophie and Haydon find accommodation
  • The City Centre Project in Manchester is a frontline drop in centre doing fantastic work with the many young people who live away from home
  • Young People's Centre in Brighton offer counselling and support to a wide range of young people and young asylum seekers
  • Running: Other Choices (ROC) is a service dedicated to young people in Scotland, under the age of 16, who are thinking about or have run away. ROC are a charity and the only service in Scotland providing refuge beds to under 16 year olds. The service also offer 24 hour helpline to under 16 year olds who have run away or who are thinking of running away. To find out more/donate money to keep the service going go to:
  • Edinburgh City Youth Cafe, 6VT, reaches teenagers and young people in Edinburgh that often slip through the net, providing advice, support and services to help them on any issues they may be facing including homelessness and drug addiction. Robyn's worker from 6VT remains a key figure in her life, whom Robyn highly values. To help 6VT continue to offer essential support to the city's most vulnerable teenagers visit