Counselling service in bid to help more people

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Growing up can be tough, as we all know.

Some young people can be left feeling isolated.

They may even feel that there is nowhere out there for them to turn for help and advice in an environment where they can be confident that they will not be judged, having shared their private thoughts or actions.

Step forward Off The Record – a free counselling service that offers help to young people aged between 11 and 25 in the Portsmouth, Leigh Park, Fareham and East Hampshire areas.

Its staff have struggled in recent times with the fact that – despite giving their all to help young people across the area – the charity came dangerously close to having to shut up shop due to a lack of funding.

Cuts by Portsmouth City Council and Hampshire County Council meant Off The Record teetered on the brink of closure.

There were very real concerns that the many young people it helps would have been left in the lurch – some of whom would already have been undergoing counselling and have had their lifeline cruelly cut off.

So it is a welcome relief to see that the service is now looking forward to a brighter future.

It has staved off closure for the foreseeable future as a result of a swathe of grants from local organisations and fundraisers who have stepped into the breach.

Now the charity has launched a huge recruitment drive in a bid to encourage more volunteers to join its ranks.

Already more people have stepped forward and undergone training.

There was 100 per cent attendance at the first training session and the target is about 100 volunteers by the end of this month.

The charity says this shows just how much the service is valued and that people regard it highly enough to still want to do their bit to help young people and keep it up and running.

But more help is still needed to help keep the Off The Record charity afloat.

Let’s hope the coming months see more people come forward and do their bit to help keep this vital organisation up and running – a place where young people can speak freely, and off the record about what is happening in their lives in a safe, understanding environment.