Young people from across the Cambridgeshire area in need of emotional and practical support are to gain access to an expanded service, writes Craig Bunday, of the Peterborough Freemasons. This is thanks to a £89,255 grant from local Freemasons to Centre 33, a charity that supports vulnerable young people between the ages of 13 and 25.
The growth and success of the ‘Someone to Talk To’ service run by the charity will enable young people to access the free, confidential service without an appointment and for as long and as often as needed. Each year, over 200 clients will benefit from help and advice in such areas as information about local services or CV writing, and a further 100 will have one-to-one support which may include developing an action plan, guidance in accessing services such as counselling, or help with becoming confident with money and applying for work.
A new open-access hub in Huntingdon will join Centre 33s existing Cambridge, Ely, Wisbech, and Peterborough centres, enabling more young people to drop in for advice and support about matters such as mental health, employment, housing, sexual health, and caring responsibilities. The grant over 3 years will enable the charity to employ two extra staff members and expand the services of existing staff.
Centre 33 is also looking to use venues and opening times that work best for young people, as well as liaising with other charities and agencies to provide more comprehensive support.
Initially, Centre 33 aims to help its clients to feel welcomed and safe, as well as empowered to create real change in their lives. Longer-term, they experience improved health, more meaningful education or employment, and increased hope for the future.
One young person, who received support for her social anxiety, said; “Thank you for really helping me over the summer… just coming in to talk made me 100 times better and made me feel normal because someone understood me. I am much improved now, and going out a lot more.”
The grant from Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.
Meg Platt, the Director of Operations at Centre 33 said: “We’re very grateful to the Freemasons for their generous grant, which will allow us to reach many more vulnerable young people in a wider area who are in real need of help and support on everything from housing and benefits, to mental and sexual health.”
Gerry Crawford, Charity Steward for The Freemasons said: “We’re very pleased to be able to help Centre 33 with their hugely important work. There are many hundreds of young people in our community who desperately need the confidential advice and support that Centre 33 provides.”
If you want to know more about Freemasonry in the Peterborough area, visit www.northants-huntsmasons.org.uk or call the Ellindon Masonic Centre on 01733 331948. There are many informal evenings where you can come along and find out what Freemasonry is all about.