The future is looking much brighter

POSITIVE  Katy Sexton is patron of Off The Record and attended the recent AGM.
POSITIVE Katy Sexton is patron of Off The Record and attended the recent AGM.
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Youth support charity Off The Record is continuing its vital service following financial difficulties

OTR provides information, support and counselling for 11 to 25-year-olds from its bases in Leigh Park and Fratton.

We not only survived closure but we turned the corner and are looking forward to maintaining and improving the service for our clients and volunteers

Paula Riches

Speaking at the charity’s recent Annual General Meeting, Chair of Trustees and a former Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Paula Riches, said: ‘We not only survived closure but we turned the corner and are looking forward to maintaining and improving the service for our clients and volunteers.’

Cuts in funding forced the charity, which has been running for 37 years, to cut staff.

But new fundraising efforts and strong support from the local community, including Havant-based company Kenwood and Havant Rotary Club, meant that there was no break in frontline services.

More than 3,000 troubled young people were helped, with the charity reporting a big increase in the number of 11 to 15-year-olds seeking its services.

Former world swimming champion Katy Sexton is a patron of OTR and attended the meeting. The Portsmouth-born swimmer said: ‘Having been involved with Off The Record for the past five years, it was nice to finally be able to attend the AGM and meet more people who are involved with such a great charity.

‘As patron, it was great to listen to how the charity has overcome some financial deficits to keep providing a wonderful service to young people in the area’.

Between April 2014 and March 2015, 80 volunteers helped OTR take 7,846 telephone calls, receive 1,297 drop-ins and offer 5,357 hours of one-to-one counselling.

The service offers general counselling, which means young people can approach us for help with any issue that may be affecting their life.

The counsellor’s role is to create a trusting relationship where difficult and distressing feelings can be shared by the client and where more effective means of coping can be found.

One young person stated: ‘I went to counselling because I felt deeply unhappy and found it hard to talk to others, and unable to control my anger. I now find that I can communicate more effectively and it has helped me overcome my major anger outbursts.’

To seek support from OTR, please call (023) 9247 4724 (Havant) or (023) 9281 5322 (Portsmouth).