New Dewsbury centre helping vulnerable young people leaving care opens its doors

Huddersfield Giants star Oliver Roberts, who attended the launch, and care leaver Taz Iqbal.
Huddersfield Giants star Oliver Roberts, who attended the launch, and care leaver Taz Iqbal.

A new centre that will help people who are leaving care and preparing for the next stage in their lives has opened in Dewsbury.

‘Number 12’, in the centre of Dewsbury, is the district’s second facility to be launched after the success of the first centre – ‘Number 11’ in Huddersfield which won praise from central government and was hailed as an innovative way of supporting looked after children and care leavers.

The centre will offer similar help in providing a safe space where there is advice and guidance about healthy lifestyles, housing and finance, life skills, training, education and employment, amongst many others.

It’s also a place for young people to meet their social workers and contains handy facilities, from laundry to computer equipment and a kitchen where they can learn to cook.

The official launch was celebrated by young people, council staff – including chief executive Jacqui Gedman and Director of Children’s Services Mel Meggs – as well as Councillor Viv Kendrick, the Cabinet member for Children.

Coun Kendrick said: “We are thrilled to open Number 12 and offer an even greater level of support to our looked after children and care leavers. It’s an absolute priority for us to help children and young people have the best start in life.

"Leaving care can be a challenge, so we do everything possible to prepare people for the change both emotionally and practically.

"I have seen for myself many times that the two centres, one each in North Kirklees and South Kirklees, are making a huge and lasting difference.

"Number 11 and Number 12 were developed in partnership with young people, so we have put their needs and wishes at the heart of everything we do.

"This is another great example of our strong focus on delivering high-quality support for children, young people and families.”