For many young people having someone to talk to is really important. Problems at school or college, problems in families and problems understanding relationships are all common. For some young people these problems can be too much and they need someone to listen to them.
Off The Record provided this help for many young people. It offered them free and confidential counselling at its base at 250 Fratton Road, right in the heart of the city.
Off The Record operated out of a building owned by the City Council, but it was a building that needed some upkeep. Volunteers connected to the Royal Engineers offered to do the maintenance work to the building for free - meaning it wouldn’t have cost the charity or the City Council anything.
We recently heard that the Conservative run City Council had rejected this offer to redo the building for free. Now Off The Record have been removed from the building by the City Council. Local Lib Dem campaigner Margaret Foster is disappointed that the council has turned its back on this vital service. "When the Lib Dems ran the council we found money from other places to keep Off The Record going. I know lots of local teenagers who have been helped by them. Now the service has gone and it was only the Lib Dem councillors who voted to give them money to carry on."
The Conservative and UKIP councillors also voted against the Lib Dem plan to give Off the Record £20,000 a year. The City Council has put aside a fund with over £400,000 in it to help local voluntary sector groups like Off the Record. This money has been sat there for almost 2 years.
The Council has the money to support this vital service, but instead they have chosen to throw Off The Record out of their building. This is a real disgrace and we will continue putting pressure on the council to change its mind and support Off The Record.