The Test Valley Foyer - formerly opened by Mary Fagan, Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire and Cllr Pat West, Mayor of Test Valley - is a member of the National Foyer movement, one of the fastest-growing and most exciting developments to come out of the voluntary sector in recent years.
There are 115 Foyers in the UK, providing safe and affordable accommodation for approximately 5000 homeless and disadvantaged 16-25 year olds, and advice for those aged 13 upwards.
Junction Road will be run by Alabare Christian Care Centres - a regional charity for solitary homeless people and adults with learning difficulties. They work year-round to help vulnerable and marginalized people get through the crisis of social exclusion, fulfil their potential and transform their lives. They develop innovative services that help vulnerable people rebuild their social and practical skills, join the world of work and reintegrate into society. They also enable vulnerable people to overcome acute problems such as addictions and mental health problems.
"The Junction is a unique project and will provide a welcoming environment where over 300 vulnerable young people aged 16-25 can be encouraged to take part in training, education, volunteering and employment advice. The project will help young people to take control over their own lives, build their confidence and skills and support their transition from dependence to independence. Access to information, training and employment are viewed as central pillars on which this transition could be built."
"With access to education, training and employment, this Foyer in Andover will help young people in the area achieve their full potential."
At the opening were Rev John Proctor, Chairman of Alabare Christian Care Centres, who are managing the Foyer; Jenna Eastlake from Barclays Bank, who provided backing for the project; Louise Lakin, Miss Great Britain Universe; Roy Perry MEP and Cllr Marion Kerley.
As a former Housing Minister, Sir George said he knew how hard it was to get funding for Foyers. "Employment Ministers say it is a Housing project; Housing Ministers say it is an employment project. Those trying to get them started had a terrible time; but I am glad they have got the funds for this one in Andover."
After the opening, there was an opportunity to view displays and listen to the Silver Steel Steel Band.