Drop-in centre for young people ‘must improve’

A DROP in centre for young people has been told that it must work hard to tackle anti-social behaviour - with a review in three months to check on its progress.

Rochford House, in New Street, Woodbridge, is a registered charity that aims to make a positive difference in the lives of disadvantaged and disaffected youngsters and encourage them to become more socially responsible.

However in recent months both the police and Suffolk Coastal District Council - which owns the building - have been contacted by local residents concerned about anti-social behaviour linked with its users.

The authority will now be monitoring the centre, which is run by the Rochford Trust, and will review its progress in three months time.

Andy Wright, Suffolk Coastal District Council’s head of community and economic services, said: “The council supports the work being carried out by staff at Rochford House but also recognises it has a responsibility that residents in the vicinity be protected as far as possible from acts of anti-social behaviour emanating from the building.

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“The centre is a safe and supervised place for young people to meet and is clearly a much better a place to hang out than bus shelters and street corners.

“However, it also clearly has to meet the same rules as anywhere else and take responsibility for controlling the behaviour of those going there.”

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The district council is also now reviewing its available properties to see if there is somewhere else the youngsters can go.

Christine Laverock, chairman of the Rochford Trust, said: “Staff carry out sessions with young people about being responsible citizens, have a system of rewards and sanctions to promote good behaviour and provide a range of activities for them to be involved in.

“Staff are responsible for the behaviour of young people and do their best to ensure as little disturbance as possible is caused to nearby neighbours.”

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