Youth centre to take over site of former Swiss Cottage Post Office
- Credit: Archant
A former Post Office which became the site of regular protests when news emerged it would close down is to become a “ground-breaking” youth centre, it can be revealed.
The new hub in Swiss Cottage, to be called The Hive, aims to offer a “safe and welcoming” place for those aged 16 to 24.
Opening in an area of both wealth and poverty, it will help those “caught in the gap” between children’s and adult services.
It is described as “one place to access a range of support”, with local organisations like the Anna Freud Centre, The Winch and sexual health clinic the Brandon Centre delivering services from the centre.
The groups will help those with problems at home, with mental health issues, or young people who just need support in education, employment, housing, social care, health and wellbeing.
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Angel Masters, who lives in Harben Road estate, Swiss Cottage, is on the Young People’s Board for the project.
The 17-year-old said: “I’m very much looking forward to it opening. I’m a young carer who looks after my mum. Sometimes you just need to have a break from it all and finally I’ll have somewhere I can go.
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“It’s not common for people in my age bracket to be given this kind of support so it will help a lot of young people who need it.
“We started from nothing and we are making a documentary of our journey to this stage.”
The centre – a joint venture between youth charity Catch 22, Camden Council and NHS Camden Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) – will also be a place for young people to relax, study and meet new people.
Its soon-to-be home in Finchley Road has been lying empty since the former occupant, a Post Office, moved out last year.
Campaigners fought for more than a year to keep it open with local councillors, residents and the now-MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, Tulip Siddiq, protesting outside.
Cllr Georgia Gould, Camden Council’s cabinet member for young people, welcomed the arrival of The Hive, saying: “This is a bold new way of working collaboratively with providers and young people.
“We hope Camden will pave the way for others to develop services tailored to support 16 to 24-year-olds on their journey into adulthood.”
Dr Martin Abbas, lead for children on Camden CCG’s governing body, added: “We are really excited to be developing this important and ground-breaking service.”
The centre was due to open this month but has been delayed until September or October.