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Switch for change in Maidstone

5.05.2015

Gullands Solicitors is involved with many different charitable organisations both locally in Maidstone and nationally and Gullands Partner Paul Burbidge is one of the trustees of Switch Café in Maidstone.  The charity was recently a finalist at the Kent Charity of The Year Awards and it is looking for additional trustees. It is keen to hear from anybody that has either the experience or desire to support their independent charity.

Switch Youth Café is an independent charity that supports young people with access to advice, support and guidance within a town centre location.  More than just a youth club, Switch utilises the ethos of informal education to underpin personal and social development, support through a variety of peer groups, volunteering and work experience for young people.  They also facilitate or manage other youth projects as a commissioned partner for both Kent County Council and Maidstone Borough Council.

Young people access use of the services for a variety of reasons.  Some come to meet with friends, others come to make new friends.  Some use it as a safe haven or a place to get away from it all and some access support and guidance.  However their aim is to never direct, but encourage the young people they are supporting to make the right decisions for themselves.  All of the charity’s work is founded on respectful relationships that foster the opportunity for young people to feel comfortable in approaching them for any support rather than they unnecessarily or unknowingly interfering.

On average the sessions are currently attended by 80 young people a day (although they have broken daily attendance record 7 times since the turn of the year with the largest number in one session being 148).  The charity estimates that they will have approximately 17,000 visits this year from
young people.

Current charity objectives are to continue with their work responding to the needs of local young people and continue to support young people change
or ‘switch’ their perception within the community with positive action.  Further details available from Manager Mark Chase [email protected]

Paul Burbidge can be reached at [email protected]

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