Axminster drop-in clinics planned to help young people

Pioneering local initiative will offer advice on housing, employment, education and legal issues

A SUPPORTED housing scheme for disadvantaged young people in Axminster is set to throw its doors open for wider use by the local community.

A pioneering local imitative will see Long Ragg Court hosting weekly drop in clinics – offering advice and signposting on housing, employment, education and legal issues.

The housing project, in Lyme Close, is run by Independent Futures – part of Devon and Cornwall Housing group – and provides homeless young people with temporary accommodation and support to get their lives back on track and the skills to help them live without outside help.

Advice at the new drop-in service can be confidential, if necessary, and there are plans to invite local agencies to attend to provide top tips on other issues such as health and financial planning.

Chris O’Neill, an i-Futures support worker at Long Ragg Court, said: “We, and our partners, will be on hand to offer expert advice and guidance on a wide range of subjects and services, which will help young people on the road to independent living, as they prepare for adult life and real-world issues.

“By receiving advice on issues like housing and pathways to employment it will help to reduce the risk of homelessness among local young people – very much part of our ethos.

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“Homelessness can strike at any age and it can be particularly daunting for young people when they have limited life skills to fall back on.”

Axe Valley College, the job club – run by Churches Together – and the town’s youth centre are backing the new drop-in service, which is available for 16-24-year-olds, and will run on Fridays from October 28, between 1.30-4.30pm, in the communal room at Long Ragg Court.

Mrs O’Neill added: “We look forward to seeing local young people. The drop-in service will be set in a relaxed and informal atmosphere; we’re not here to judge people, we’re here to help and support them.”

Sarah Vaughan, i-Futures team manager for young people’s services, said: “Our aim is to involve our young residents in the local community and raise awareness of our services.

“We surveyed local young people and identified a clear gap in local provision of a drop-in service of this kind – it’s based on need and will help to improve the quality of their lives. The survey has led to interest from local agencies who are keen to take part and see this as an ideal opportunity to engage local young people who may struggle to access other services.”

Residents at Long Ragg Court have helped to set up the new drop-in service and are keen to get more involved in the local community. They welcome opportunities – such as voluntary work – to enhance their skills and experience.

Any businesses and individuals who would like to work in partnership should contact Mrs O’Neill on (01297) 631754.