MORPETH ROTARY BARNABAS SAFE AND SOUND
As Gill Monaghan told Morpeth Rotary Club, Barnabas Safe and Sound of Morpeth is about to celebrate its 21st birthday. Gill was previously in charge of finance but now looks aftercommunications and PR. It all started with the vision of Cecilia Brown back in 1999, of supportinglocal young people aged 16 to 25 with nowhere secure to live, to become independent, and valued members of society. Start up help was given by the New Life Christian Centre, Morpeth Churches Together and local housing associations. In 2001 a worker was appointed to network and consult with young people. The project went ahead with an aim to provide safe accommodation for young people with advice and support. It became a charity in 2018. Rotary members Gordon Bolton and Paul Crook have both been volunteer trustees on the management board. So far 334 young people have been helped, with 11 young people supported currently at premises in Morpeth and Ashington. Staff are excellent and very passionate about what they do. They need to be able to gain the trust of those in need and assist them to flourish and make a meaningful contribution. Each entrant is assessed and given an individual plan for transformation and growth. They encourage them to reach their full potential through volunteering and gaining skills, including through the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. Some young people lead chaotic lives, are alienated from their families and have problems that they find very hard to solve. Many are care leavers where support has suddenly stopped. Because of recent funding changes the charity has had to change the way it works. It has taken inspiration from the original vision and now offers more flexible access to housing. Young people who feel in need can refer themselves, while others will continue to be referred by other agencies. The project needs to actively seek funding from trusts and other partners to continue to allow them to do this.
Gordon Bolton thanked Gill saying he enjoyed his 12 years as Chairman and that the purpose and aims of Barnabas were dear to his heart.
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