High Sheriff visit to Portsmouth charities

The Roberts Centre http://www.robertscentre.org.uk/about/

In 1990 Princess Diana laid the foundation stone for The Roberts Centre building. I can’t claim to provide quite such a glamorous photo opportunity but I am delighted to be standing with Carole Damper, the CEO of the Roberts Centre, in  front of that same building which for 30 years has had a pivotal role in supporting local vulnerable families to break the cycle of deprivation in which they are caught. From the child centred Contact Centre, where children can meet with family members with whom they do not currently live, to supported lodging for .l families, with a wealth of services in between,  the ongoing record of slow but steady transformation is impressive. Despite all the restrictions currently in place it was evident that the Roberts Centre continues to be a hub of support – from the happy faces of 3 siblings  coming in to join their bubble for holiday play, to all the ways the centre staff have adapted to non contact support.  

Motiv8  https://motiv8.org.uk/

I have wanted to visit Motiv8 for many years, having first heard about their work through Lady Louisa Portal MBE DL during her year as Hampshire High Sheriff in 2015. There was no disappointment after such a long anticipatory lead in time – all my fault I hasten to say! Having been warmly welcomed by Clare Ansell (CEO) and Rebecca Stotesbury (Fundraising Manager) I walked in to find Karen – below – putting together packs of ingredients and recipes to enable vulnerable families to enjoy cooking, eating and learning together.

This is just one example of the innovations Motiv8 have made during restrictions. Karen then told me of how an emailing relationship with a teenager has been surprisingly successful  as this young person was not in fact ready for face to face contact – and so through this has come some valuable experience to reflect on for further work. 

As the young people can’t use most of the Motiv8 premises at the moment Clare has been visiting the local areas where young people hang out – by doing so she has made many significant contacts with those who are most vulnerable and been able to engage them in appropriate support . The work of Motiv8 focuses on ‘life chances for young people’ and has a holistic approach which draws in their families. They have over 20 years experience of helping prevent young people from going down a path that leads to crime – and being victims of criminal behaviour also, recognising the effect that poverty, education, emotional health, housing – indeed so many factors – affect the life chances of young people. 

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