Young people give underpass a makeover with a difference

Councillors with young people, local partners and the artist by the mural

(Above) Cllr Emily Darlington and Cllr Zoe Nolan with members of MK Youth Cabinet (YCAB), artist Kremena Dimitrova and local partners outside the Buszy mural in Central MK

A giant mural which signposts helplines for young people has been officially unveiled at the Buszy Plaza Skatepark this week.

The 14-metre-wide graphic was a collaboration between members of MK’s Youth Cabinet (YCAB) and artist Kremena Dimitrova. They used poetry and words from young people, taking inspiration from those who are homeless, to create the design. The mural contains phone numbers for local support services on offer to local people who need extra help, including young people at risk of homelessness who could benefit from mediation and advice, and is embedded with poetry, puzzles, and thoughts.

The project was funded by MK Council and supported by local partners including Depaul, Milton Keynes Homelessness Partnership and YMCA. A smaller version of the mural was installed in Station Square earlier this year.

Following a consultation with more than 4,000 young people in 2020, MK’s YCAB identified youth homelessness and domestic abuse as issues to focus on.  YCAB hopes that this project will increase visibility of the problems faced by some young people and may help them and their families to consider getting support.

“In the UK, homelessness and domestic abuse affect hundreds of thousands of young people each year. We’ve done a huge amount to bring down local levels of homelessness but the conditions that lead young people to becoming homeless are complex – and many are unsure where to turn. This project has been driven by the passion of young people and the support of local organisations who can make a difference. We want people to know that help is available.”
- Councillor Emily Darlington, Cabinet Member for Adults, Housing and Healthy Communities
“This was the second most voted project in 2020/21 which is why we created the mural with our artist, Kremena, in the hope of educating and supporting people about homelessness. We want to portray a ray of hope for anyone who is going through a similar situation as well as creating a positive message to the wider community.”
- Alessandro and Crystal Rose, MKYCAB Homelessness campaign group

MK Council commissions specialist charity Depaul to provide free advice and support for young people in MK aged 16 to 25 who are at risk of homelessness.  Their services include Nightstop MK – a safe place to stay and Reconnect, a free mediation and family support service.  For more information, call 0330 555 0180 or visit their website.

A close-up of the mural and helplines for young people