Routes closes doors after 20 years providing support for young people

Routes was established in 1997 as a multi-agency approach to meeting the information, advice and guidance needs of young people. The service was initially supported by the Dorset County Council Youth Service and Social Services department, West Dorset District Council, Primary Care Trusts, the Connexions service and many charities.

Our caring and capable staff provided support for an estimated 6,000 young people in times of crisis when they asked us for help. Staff dealt with a  broad range of issues and offered a simple but effective 3 stage approach; initial assessment and practical intervention, ongoing practical and emotional support and finally help with moving on to education, employment, training or volunteering.

The number of young people attending the centre dropped in the final year of operation, partly as a result of raising ‘the school’ leaving age to 18 and introduction of other services. The real burden of finding the monies to open the building and pay salaries fell to DYA. Ansbury (formerly Connexions) kindly offered a secondment opportunity to our advice worker and allowed him to provide a continued service to support young people in Dorchester.

We used the premises for many other projects and services run by ourselves and others and at its peak we had 10 staff delivering service from the building. Projects and services included; mental health support, drug and alcohol advice, housing advice, Connexions service, SPACE, Young Parents group, Pregnancy and Sexual Health services, the volunteering ‘v team and project’, BLF Fresh Start programme, Heritage Lottery projects Young Remembers and Walking in their shoes, Fit4Life and new Face Forward service.

We still see young people who have used the centre and are very proud of their many and varied achievements and wish them well for the future.

I would like to thank all of our dedicated team of staff and the many individuals, groups, charities, church congregations, schools and providers of statutory services who so kindly helped us to raise the money to deliver the service for 20 years.