Woodbridge: Troubled youth centre to close its doors
A TROUBLED youth centre has been forced to close its doors, bosses confirmed last night.
Rochford House in New Street, Woodbridge, will shut at the end of next month.
The building is a meeting place for youngsters aged 12 to 19 and staff are on-hand to offer them support and advice.
The drop-in centre is run by the Rochford Trust, a registered charity, and last night chairman of trustees, Christine Laverock, confirmed it was going to have to close its doors.
“It is a very sad position to find ourselves in,” she said. “However, for a variety of reasons we have decided to close.
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“The economy over the last two years and the cuts to public funding are making it difficult to secure funding commitments which provide a stable financial base.
“The house itself is not able to meet the current needs of the activities we would like to undertake.
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“There has been an increase in residential dwellings in the immediate area which has brought the suitability of the house’s location into question.”
She said Rochford Trust would now undertake a period of consultation before deciding on how to develop services that would meet the needs of vulnerable young people in Woodbridge.
“In the meantime, Rochford Trust would like to thank all those people and many organisations who have contributed to the success of the house and to all the young people who have made our work so enjoyable and rewarding,” she added.
Residents living near Rochford House had raised serious concerns about anti-social behaviour and troublesome youngsters for a number of months.
Representatives from Suffolk Coastal District Council, the police and trustees were working together to come up with a solution.
Last night a resident, who did not want to be named, said he and others were relieved that the centre would be closing.
The building for Rochford House is owned by the district council but the lease is issued by the town council, which has previously stressed the importance of keeping a youth facility in Woodbridge.
A spokesman for the district council said: “It is a shame the trustees at Rochford House feel their future financial uncertainties mean they cannot continue to provide what has in the past been a significant service for some young people in and around Woodbridge.
“Suffolk Coastal has previously supported the work of Rochford House and are ready to try to assist the trustees as they strive to achieve their goal of helping vulnerable young people.”