"Each month the House project helps dozens of young people through a crisis in their lives, by providing sympathetic and professional advice is an environment where young people feel at ease."
Sir George said he was very impressed by the volume of work done with very slender resources. "Homelessness is a real problem for young people in Andover; relationships can break down at a home - they may not get on well with their mother's new partner - and they leave or are thrown out. The Project can help them rebuild their life."
"The Project needs more sympathetic landlords who can provide accommodation for young people - and thre Project will guarantee the rent. I urger anyone with a spare room to contact the Project on 01264 332053"
"They also need more volunteers to help out with the Advice sessions - and they need more money! This is a really well run project, tackling alienation and exclusion at the sharp end - and coming up with sensible and sustainable solutions."
This description of the work at the House is taken from the Annual Report 2000-2001
The House Young People's Project
The House Young People's Project is an information, advice and support service for young people aged 14 - 25 years. Based in Winchester Road car park in Andover, the project currently opens for three afternoons each week to offer a drop-in service to clients.
Information and advice work for young people involves being able to offer clients a range of resources they can feel comfortable with and able to access. An informal setting has been created at The House to encourage young people to feel relaxed and welcomed. We work with any issue a young person brings in, answering questions, offering a listening ear in times of trouble, and referring or signposting young people to more appropriate agencies. By offering the free use of a telephone, a desk, and a range of other simple resources we can help young people avoid visiting a variety of organisations, only to be directed to another each time. We will advocate on behalf of clients when appropriate, but try to work in a way that encourages them to address issues themselves. We don't try to answer young people's problems for them, we offer them the tools by which they can do so themselves.
The support element of our work takes on a number of different faces. We try to make ourselves available to be with young people if they need us, for example. at the police station, the courts, or the hospital. We have recently visited young people who have been housed in bed and breakfast outside of the area (such as Fareham and Slough), supporting them through what can be a difficult time. Staffing resources often make this kind of service more difficult than we would hope. Sometimes we can take a young person to an appointment s/he might otherwise not be able to attend, for example an interview at a residential centre several miles outside of Andover. On a less formal basis we will show clients that we have an interest in their lives by supporting their search for work, their relationships with peers, their developing interests and the like.
When good things happen, people like to tell others. We try to make sure that our clients at least have us to share such news with. In addition to this type of support we are also able to offer a "listening ear" in a quiet place away from the main part of the project. Here we can allow young people to talk through issues in their lives in more detail if they wish.
Whilst this is not a counselling service, it can none the less be invaluable in helping some young people gain a better understanding of their feelings. Further training for staff will be pursued in the forthcoming year to better develop this service.
Alongside the information, advice and support service we also run a Rent Guarantee Scheme. The aim here is to help young people to move into privately rented accommodation. We will offer assistance by guaranteeing the landlord rent, helping the client with any benefit applications and by supporting the client in appropriate ways whilst s/he on the scheme. We aim to help young people move towards independence from the scheme, taking charge of their own rent payments.
The House has successfully run a range of developmental workshops. A comedy workshop has recently seen a professional stand up comedienne sharing her skills (along with a trip to a London comedy club). A DJ course has resulted in one young man getting his first paid gig. Another course has focused upon job hunting skills, but had to finish early when almost all the participants found work!
The project is represented on a number of different steering groups and committees in the area. These include the Drug Reference Group, the committee working on plans for a new Foyer project in the area, and the steering group for the new Homelessness Resource Centre.
We are working alongside Social Services in their recruitment and training of mentors to work with young people leaving care, as well as offering our help to the Social Services team during an elongated period of local service delivery difficulties.
We are busy people at The House! We are able to offer all that we do as a result of the superb staff team that is based here. The skills and abilities that are brought by individuals have been further complimented by training, such as in running anger management courses. With the continuing financial support of Test Valley Borough Council and Hampshire Youth Service, along with the encouragement and positive working relationships with a range of local agencies, we can offer a service that aims to meet the needs of young people in the area.