Help for young people across district

Youngsters enjoying the free evening out ran by The Salvation Army
Youngsters enjoying the free evening out ran by The Salvation Army

THE SECOND stage of the County Times Helping Hand for Horsham Campaign looks this week at the help available to young people.

After seeing new needs develop in the community over recent weeks, both Horsham Salvation Army and Horsham Matters are starting new services to help young people.

The Young Person’s Advocacy Service is a new initiative by Horsham Matters to help youngsters with anything from opening a bank account to negotiating with the council about housing.

Chief executive of Horsham Matters, David Sheldon, said: “People will get referred to us through other services like the district council, Connexions or the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

“We are looking to advocate for young people to get their voice heard. It can be a simple as opening a bank account. Our advocates will go along with them to help them achieve whatever it is they want to achieve.

“Our biggest advantage [compared with some other services] is that we fund ourselves. The CAB and Connexions say to us that when they give advice to young people they don’t have the time or resources to help them put it into practice.

“If they are someone who hasn’t engaged with any authority - school or the council - and they go to CAB for some advice, sometimes they don’t know what to do next or they don’t like the advice.”

Youth advocates would go with the young person to help them carry out a particular task, not to give advice, but to be there for them.

Following the County Times Christmas Campaign last year, The Salvation Army has set up a youth evening, currently run every two months, to give older children and teenagers a evening out doing an activity their parents might not otherwise afford.

Captain Ian Woodgate said: “We are subsidising it, but it is ran separately to the church. We found through the campaign that parents are scared to let their kids out and they can’t afford to go out.

“There have been two meetings so far and one of them was bowling. The aim is to give parents a break.”

The Youth Support Team is another way in which the churches and other organisations help young people in the town.

In a partnership between Horsham Youth Centre run by the county council, Brighton Road Baptist Church, Horsham District Community Safety Partnership, Horsham District Council, the Horsham Parish Anglican Churches and Horsham Matters volunteers work to support young people in Horsham Parks between May and August.

David said: “They go out into the park in the summer providing support in the summer evenings. They are not there to give advice, but just to listen, talk to them and be there for them.”

This provision ensures an adult presence and allow young people to be supported if they choose to engage. It aims to increase the support available to young people from WSCC Youth Service, Information Shop, HDC, charities, NHS and other agencies, raise awareness of safety, reduce the fear of crime and raise awareness of socially acceptable behaviour.

A fourth project being carried out by Horsham Churches Together is Eliv:8 which aims to help young people build up their self esteem.

David said: “We help them see what their issues are and build their self esteem and confidence in a mentoring programme. All these scheme to help young people achieve their potential.”

For more information about the Youth Support Team contact Judi Cox on 01403 210207.

To find out more about the Young Person’s Advocacy Service and Eliv:8 contact Liz Burt on lizburt@horsham-matters.org.uk or 01403 217381.

Contact the Ian or Sue at the Horsham Salvation Army about their youth evenings on 01403 254624.