Charity plans to help youngsters at family centre in Gosport

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IFA2 project takes another step as planning approved

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A CHARITY is set to start an intensive programme with young people.

Six youngsters will move into self-contained flats at the Agnew Family Centre hostel, in St Vincent Road, Gosport, with support workers giving them one-on-one help.

It comes as Forton ward councillor Keith Farr said problems in the area, including loitering and criminal damage at nearby vacant bungalows, are getting sorted.

He said: ‘This could be a good thing for the youngsters – maybe they’ve been led astray.

‘But if you get someone coming in there and they’re supervised you can get them back into normal working life.

‘I’d welcome it. Youngsters are the future of today.’

Step by Step, which already runs accommodation in Havant, will start the work on April 1.

It aims to get people it helps into work, training, further education or voluntary work between three to six months.

Luke O’Neil is client services manager at Step by Step.

He said: ‘Our experience shows that early intervention and focused support helps young people to identify the talents they have and to unlock their potential.

‘Such positive changes can be a vital factor in preventing homeless young people, or those at risk of becoming so, from losing hope and confidence in themselves.

‘Over 90 per cent of our clients progress or stabilise their situation and regain their self-esteem, enabling them to play an active and positive role in their community.’

As reported, the family centre opened in July 2012 after a £1.2m refurbishment.

It has 55 accommodation units with one, two or three bedrooms.

Nearby residents were concerned when the plans for the homeless hostel were approved by Gosport Borough Council.

Cllr Graham Burgess is the deputy leader of the council and is chairman of the community board.

He said the scheme will be funded with cash from Hampshire County Council.

He said ‘They’re paying for six units within Agnew House for local youngsters within the area.

‘Hopefully we can look after them and point them in the right direction. It’s still there for homeless people, that’s the prime reason for Agnew House.

‘The residents’ initial fears were unfounded. We have people who go to Agnew House, they know the rules and if they break them they’re out.’

The cost of the contract,which starts next month, has not yet been confirmed.