One-stop shop to support young people opens in Northampton town centre

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A new one-stop shop for young people in Northampton has opened in the town centre.

Prospects officially opened a new one-stop-shop for young people in Sheep Street, opposite the bus station, providing young people with a drop in centre where they can get information, help and advice about learning, employment, training and apprenticeships.

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The centre was officially opened by Michael Ellis MP, David Mackintosh MP, Councillor Matthew Golby, Northamptonshire County Council cabinet member for children’s services and learning, and Nick Bell, Prospects chief executive.

A number of young people attended the official opening, including Michael and Flynn, who were part of a group of young people who worked with Prospects to design the centre’s services before it opened. Both were thrilled to see how their ideas had been incorporated into the final designs.

Councillor Golby, speaking at the opening, said: “The centre offers a really, warm welcome for young people, it is bright with a positive feel, and offers the best advice and guidance for young people. Young people at the start of their journey can come and know the centre is a safe place where they will receive the encouragement they need to raise their aspirations.”

Mr Bell highlighted Prospects commitment to young people across the county.

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He said: “In Northamptonshire we are dedicated to improving the lives of young people as they move into adulthood. Any young person who needs help and advice can visit our centre in Sheep Street and be guaranteed confidential and professional support.

"We have already made an impact on the lives of young people including Michael, Flynn and Courtney.

"I find it inspirational to look around the centre and read the stories of the young people we have already helped, young people like Courtney, Keesha and Roisin who have agreed we can tell their stories to help other young people.”

Sisters Keesha and Roisin are supported by Prospects, the education, employment, training and care company, who began working in Northamptonshire in April.

When they started with Prospects the girls felt they did not have anyone in their lives pushing them or believing in their abilities. After trying unsuccessfully to get work on their own, they lost any belief in their own abilities, until they met Julia, their Prospects adviser.

At that time Keesha and Roisin did not trust anyone to help them, but both immediately warmed to Julia. Keesha said: “Julia was a massive help right away, she wasn't pushy or patronising. It really felt like she wanted to help.”

Julia built a trusting relationship with Keesha and Roisin before suggesting the girls consider the Prince’s Trust four-week retail course at Marks & Spencer. Roisin said: “Julia didn't make us feel like we had to, she just made us believe we could do it and to believe in ourselves.

"Thanks to Julia’s support we got the job! We didn't think we could do it but with the right help and some self-motivation we finally faced our fears.”

Julia is delighted the girls have been successful.

She added: “I knew that the girls, like many of the young people we meet, needed help and support individually tailored to them, to move on and succeed. We quickly built up a good rapport and I was very aware that Roisin and Keesha had great potential but just needed the opportunity to shine.

“All I did was to show them the door of opportunity and they turned the handle to open it and walked through. At Prospects our door is always open for young people. Anyone needing help can visit our new centre in Sheep Street.”