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We were donated a cake for our first Birthday, and a few days later decided to share it out with the people who regularly meet on a Saturday outside the Forum and who we’re getting to know and understand.

Having the cake as an ice-breaker, the first person we got talking to was Jess. We’re pleased to hear she’s been receiving the text messages for a whole year. Not only does it help her, she shares them with her friends, and reflects back on ones important to her by looking through previous messages from RY. Meeting Jess makes it all the more worthwhile that we carry on. She mentioned there were subjects such as self-harm, body confidence and worrying about school, that she found the most helpful to her so far. Sexuality is something her and her friend would find useful to get messages on. Jess said that people don’t have just one problem, there are often many problems which are all interlinked.

By chance we met Alex, who explained to us his journey and his homeless life, who’s been passed from one place to another. Intrigued by his story, he is happy to be involved with Norfolk’s Young People’s Voice, which is unique to Norfolk where we can explain to the Council how a one-stop shop would be beneficial to young people, parents, teachers and doctors. Alex also said that problems are always interlinked with others.

Norfolk’s Young People’s Voice is a project to gather evidence to show that young people would find it useful to have one safe and compassionate place they could go to to get help for whatever issue it is they need support with, instead of going somewhere and being told they need to speak to someone else, or another organisation, or just being given something to treat the immediate problem with no thought for the long-term issues.

Let’s start where the problem is and with the people who are going through not feeling wanted and valued, or could possibly feel like they are a burden. If one project hasn’t worked, there needs to be other options available without them feeling embarrassed or a failure that the one particular scheme hasn’t worked for them.

We’re asking the question, would a one-stop shop for advice work, with all the agencies available in Norwich working together in one place. One place where people can come and get whichever advice they need and not be fobbed off by being passed on to someone else, where they can be themselves and be listened to as individuals rather than being given a ticket and crossed off when they leave. Working in collaboration with all the charities and organisations will provide a more streamlined advice route.