Youth advice centre opens
A NEW centre set up to make counselling, advice and information services more visible and accessible to young people has been officially opened.
The Link – based inside a former clothing shop on La Colomberie – now houses the Youth Service’s Youth Enquiry Service, following the unit’s move from the St James centre.
Chief Minister Ian Gorst, who opened the centre on Friday, said that the drop-in facility was an excellent example of the States, the Jersey Youth Trust and the Association of Jersey Charities working together to provide an essential service.
He said: ‘We are now taking the Youth Enquiry Service into a more open and approachable area of town, providing a service of advice and support which has got the best interests of young people at heart. It is non-judgemental and hopefully will support and advise them through any particular issues through any given point in their lives.’
The centre, which costs about £30,000 to run each year, features a number of dedicated meeting spaces, and has been funded by the Jersey Youth Trust.
Following the conclusion of the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry, additional funding was given to the Youth Service to enable it to provide more youth workers and counsellors.
Jaci Graham, chairwoman of the Jersey Youth Trust, said that a number of young people had already taken advantage of the centre since it opened its doors two weeks ago.
She said: ‘A lot of young people who do use our services are self-referrals, so to be in such a visible and accessible position is fantastic.
‘There is still quite a lot of work to do, and some of that is being done by other agencies. That is why we called this place The Link – we want it to be a link between other agencies and the Youth Enquiry Service.’
Mark Capern, head of the Jersey Youth Service, said that the centre could not be based in a better location.
He said: ‘It is accessible, it is visible and that is what we want – to make sure that young people have access to advice or counselling services when they need them.
‘The Yes Project started as an informational CD which we gave to young people. It then moved to a website, before setting up in La Motte Street and then at St James. It now has its own dedicated premises, it still provides a website and it is still doing outreach work, going into schools and providing a service in the community.’