NINETEEN-year-old Callum Sawyer is very clear about how important Worksop’s Centreplace is to him.
“I wouldn’t be here now if not for this place,” he says, quite definitely.
Centreplace, on Abbey Street, offers free guidance and counselling to young people aged 16 to 25 and has just been saved from closure by a £90,000 grant from the Coalfields Regeneration Trust.
Callum, of Park Street, said: “I had some personal issues and dropped out of college. I saw this place advertised on a leaflet and I’ve been coming for about a year.”
“They have really helped me and it’s a great atmosphere here and so friendly.”
“It’s given me the confidence to try again to get back into college. The staff here are so dedicated, they go out of their way to help.”
Centreplace began 15 years ago and is managed by Helen Azar-Sadler who said they offer information and advice on everything from housing and health, education and employment, to benefits and managing money.
There are also facilities like washing machine, tumble dryer, showers, kitchen and computers which the young people can use.
She said: “We have about 50 people coming to our drop-in sessions twice a week and we also do a Rug Rats session for young parents and their children.”
“We also have a programme of different activities and we organise community events like bag packing. We also do outreach work on Mondays and Fridays when we will go out and see people.”
One of the young mums using the centre is Kayleigh Layhe, 18, of St Paul’s Road, who has an 11-month-old son called Joshua.
The former Valley Academy pupil said: “I started coming here in 2009 mainly to meet new people. The people here are lovely and have given me plenty of help and advice, I come twice a week and also to Rug Rats.”
Kayleigh’s sister Zoe, 21, of Park Street, said she was helped when she became homeless.
“They put me in touch with Framework which has a hostel with 12 bedsits and I’m happy there. I come here three times a week for support and to look for jobs.”
Centreplace also hosts WOW - Worksop Outs Wednesdays - a midweek club for gay and bi-sexual people. It attracts people from places further afield like Sheffield, Rotherham and Mansfield.
Gemma Webster, 23, of Clinton Street, said she first started visiting Centreplace after attending WOW meetings.
“They helped me quite a lot with some stuff and to get myself back on track. I was at North Notts College studying music but had to drop out because I was travelling from Sheffield on the train and it got too expensive.”
“I help out here with the activities and run the tuck shop and they are helping me to get back into work.”
Danielle Jackson, 16, of Keswick Road, left Valley Academy last year and is now studying public services at North Notts College.
“I really like it here and it’s become a big part of my life,” she said.
For more information call 479191, go to www.centreplace.org.uk or look up the Facebook page.