Vulnerable, young people have finally got the answer they wanted after weeks spent plagued by anxiety and fear.
When residents of Haverhill’s Cangle Foyer found out that Riverside – the service provider of 17 years – was being decommissioned, they became concerned for their future.
Some worried they would be left without a roof over their heads while others feared they would be forced to move to unsuitable accommodation.
Almost 700 people signed a petition opposing funding cuts which were putting the Cangle’s 32 residents at risk.
On Monday those residents, who are all aged under 25, were finally able to breath a sigh of relief after learning they would all be able to stay at the Withersfield Road facility.
Cllr Beccy Hopfensperger, Suffolk’s cabinet member for adult care, revealed the new contract for young people’s services in West Suffolk – taking effect from April 1 – had been awarded to a Riverside-led partnership.
She said: “This will mean there will be stability in service provision for young people in West Suffolk.
“The council will continue to work very closely with all housing related support providers to ensure the smooth handover of contracts and are taking a flexible approach to this transition focused on the best interests of customers.”
Simon Allcock, Riverside’s regional operations manager, said: “We are absolutely delighted to hear that Riverside have been awarded the contract to deliver accommodation and support to young people in St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath.
“This will allow us to build on our 17 years of inspiring work with young people at the Cangle Foyer in Haverhill, and support our new partners, YMCA, Newmarket Open Door and Action For Children, continue to do the same across the whole area.”
He added: “It’s been overwhelming to hear the support from the local community in recent weeks.
“It shows the hard work and caring attitude of the Riverside team has really made a difference in Haverhill – and I’m proud to be part of it.”
Under the new contract the age criteria will change from 16-25 to 16-21 but a third of the Cangle will remain suitable for young people older than 21.
Resident Vikki Hayes, 22, said: “We’ve all been really stressed out but now we’re all really happy – none of us are going to be made homeless.”