Service for Portsmouth young people gets a new lease of life

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IT USED to provide support and accommodation for vulnerable young people in a run-down, dated building.

Now Portsmouth Foyer has given its residents a fresh start after moving premises to a plush new site in Greetham Street, Southsea.

Yesterday, leaders from across the community came together to officially declare the new development open.

It includes 54 en-suite rooms, eight shared kitchens and a games room as well as offices designed specifically for the centre’s education, training and employment programmes.

Building work was completed this year after it began in April the year before.

Speeches were made by Peter Walters, chief executive of First Wessex housing association – which Portsmouth Foyer is a part of – and John Bird, who is the founder of street magazine The Big Issue.

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt and council leader Gerald-Vernon Jackson also attended the ceremony and employees gave everyone a tour of the building.

Portsmouth Foyer’s former home was in Edinburgh Road, Landport.

Residents have been moving across to the new facility since October.

Portsmouth Foyer manager Nathan Stolborg said: ‘It’s an absolutely fantastic facility.

‘At at time when financially it’s difficult for everyone everywhere it’s nice to know that young people are still being provided for.’

The building was designed with the help of young people’s ideas and together the residents chose the colour scheme on each floor of the six-storey building.

‘An amazing amount of time and effort has been put in to make this happen,’ Mr Stolborg said.

‘The response from all the residents has been fantastic.

‘They love their rooms and love the fact the building is light and airy and new.

‘They’re comforted by the fact it’s a safe, secure place for them to be.’

Mr Stolborg added that providing care for young people in Portsmouth is something which remains a priority.

‘The amount of youngsters needing care and support has not decreased,’ he said.

‘It’s essential that there are facilities available to them.’