Focus: Communications - Three minutes with... Tom Stone, editor, Speak Out

What is Speak Out?

It's a magazine written by a group of homeless 16 to 25-year-olds, supported by Centrepoint and aimed at other homeless young people the charity works with in London.

I am production editor at Men's Health, and a friend who used to work at Centrepoint told me about the project. We have just won a Prince's Trust Community Impact Award at the trust's annual Celebrate Success awards.

How did the young people first react to the idea?

There were about six people involved and another six contributors.

One of them has had some work experience on a newspaper and one is doing a design course, but most of them were coming to it cold. They were all incredibly enthusiastic and I suppose one of the biggest challenges was turning that into written words. Some were quite comfortable with the idea of writing, but others needed a bit more encouragement.

What subjects does the magazine cover?

The philosophy from the start was that it's a magazine by residents for residents, so anything they wanted to write about went in. In our first issue we gave away a free CD that featured music produced by one of the team.

In the next issue we have an article on gun crime and another on domestic abuse, both written by members of the team who have personal experience of the issue. I think you get the best writing out of people when there is that personal connection.

What has the team got out of it?

I think it has definitely helped with their confidence and everyone has learnt a lot. If I'm being honest, I was quite surprised by their level of commitment. A lot of projects like this tend to just fizzle out, but the team has kept at it. We would like to bring out the magazine twice a year. We hope to get the next one out in time for Christmas.

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