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Lewisham, March 2011 to August 2011


Unlike some news reporters saying that Lewisham is now on the map with these riots happening now, it was in fact on the map with it's losses of essential community support services: Connexions Centre

Lewisham March 2011 to Lewisham August 2011.

Lewisham Connexions centre, south London (March 2011)

Cuts: £1.6m (100%); 35 staff to lose their jobs on 1 April

Lewisham Connexions centre is in one of the country's most deprived neighbourhoods and has helped 15,000 teenagers every year since it was set up a decade ago. More than half of the 13- to 25-year-olds who seek advice are, or are in danger of becoming, "neets" – young people not in education, employment or training. The centre has specialised in giving advice to pregnant teenagers and young people with housing problems.

The centre has now closed, but staff are finishing their work in schools and colleges, and trying to find alternative help for the teenagers they work with. Lewisham council decided not to renew the contract it awarded to Babcock International, a support services company, to run the Connexions centre. The council says instead it would target funding on neets.

In the last few months, the service has helped a young man recently out of prison to train as a youth worker. He told the centre that the job meant he now had "to act professionally". "I am respected rather than the world seeing me as some hood rat," he wrote. JS

(Reported in Guardian March 25, 2011)

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