The Rock Trust delivers the Scottish Social Networks Forum on behalf of the Scottish Goverment. The forum was created in response to recommendations in the Homelessness Task Force Final Report to raise awareness of the need for positive social networks; to support the development and integration of befriending, mentoring and mediation services for people affected by homelessness or at risk of homelessness and to assist local authorities and homelessness projects who are required to develop assessments and provision to support social networks.
The correlation of poor social networks and homelessness is direct but positive social networks are the foundation for strong, supportive, sustainable, healthy communities and a route to preventing not only homelessness but also inequality of access to services and exclusion generally. This was recognised by Malcolm Chisholm MSP when he was Minister for Communities and was reflected in his Ministerial Statement on Abolition of Priority Need by 2012.
Significantly it has been reinforced by Nicola Sturgeon, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, who said:
“Strong social networks can play a key part in preventing homelessness and breaking the cycle of repeat homelessness. …. “Feeling valued as part of a social network is essential for everyone’s wellbeing – and especially for people feeling isolated because of homelessness.”
The isolation, loneliness and vulnerability experienced by individuals with weak social networks is damaging to their health and well being. Indeed there is a direct link between strong positive social networks and everything from prevention of homelessness – through increased resilience – to recovery from open heart surgery! The lack of strong, positive social networks is particularly damaging to those already socially excluded from society through unemployment, disability, race, experience of being looked after in local authority care, veterans or other institution leavers but can have an adverse affect on any of us. All these factors in turn impact on homelessness.
The Forum works with the Local Authority Housing Option Hubs to ensure that social networks practice is embedded across Scotland.
What We Do
The Scottish Social Networks Forum and our Beyond Homelessness research project has developed a range of tools to highlight the importance of social networks. These tools are available through our training. Please see here for our latest training opportunities.
The Scottish Social Networks website includes a professional database, discussion forum, links to other resources, quarterly newsletters and announcements on upcoming events and training.
Further Information and Contact Details
If you would like to learn more about our research, join the mailing list, get involved, or if you know of people who would enjoy working with us, please contact us on 0131 557 4059 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.