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An innovative interior design project devised for tenants at risk of becoming homeless has teamed up with a number of housing association partners across Scotland to launch an open exhibition of newly transformed 'show homes'.
The National Showhomes Exhibition 2011 - which launched last month and will continue throughout March - will feature flats transformed from the drab stereotype of social housing in Scotstoun, Govan, Ayrshire, Edinburgh and Castlemilk. Workshops and events are also on offer for any visitors that come along for a sneak peek at the revamped rooms.
The project, endearingly called Fab Pab, is a scheme exclusively for 16-34-year-olds at risk of homelessness or in their first tenancy. The core aim of the venture is to provide support, workshops and a budget to enable vulnerable tenants to individually style their surroundings, making houses into homes.
The creative participants are also provided with additional assistance to improve their employability and encourage them to take steps to secure future education or employment. The course usually lasts for 6-12 months, during which time the hands-on tenants attend weekly workshops with professional interior designers to plan and create their dapper dwellings. It also proves to be a valuable opportunity for them to interact with other like-minded people in similar situations to themselves. Initially thought up in 1999 by Impact Arts, a Scottish-based arts organisation, Fab Pad is the company's longest-running programme. From its inauguration over a decade ago, it has supported over 3,000 vulnerable tenants. But now they have teamed up with more housing authorities than ever before to launch the Scotland-wide exhibition.
Susan Aktemel, director of Impact Arts, said: "Fab Pad participants across Scotland achieve great things every day, and through this exhibition of show homes with our housing partners, we are able to show exactly what our talented designers and participants are able to create together.
"We have proven that we contribute significantly to increased tenancy sustainment and moving into education and employment, and the National Showhomes Exhibition is the perfect way of celebrating this and raising awareness of the impact which Fab Pad has had." So far, the programme has had impressive results with over 90 per cent of project participants going on to sustain their tenancy for 12 months or more.
Currently, Fab Pads works with over 500 people at risk of homelessness each year across 11 local authority areas in Scotland. The venture has designs to expand to even more areas across the UK in the coming year.
• For further information on the project, visit the website at www.impactarts.co.uk or call 0141 575 3001