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Young people help to run centre

Under the new Learning and Skills Act, the youth services will play a more central role in education and training for post-16s. Martin Whittaker investigates what the changes will mean for all those involved

Young people play a vital role in running Drop In, a charity for 13 to 25-year-olds in Croydon.

Drop In offers counselling, information and advice on issues affecting young people, and runs an outreach programme of youth support.

An integral part is the young people's team, which meets monthly and discusses recruitment, training and policy and helps to promote the south London charity.

The young people on the team will soon be able to gain a national vocational qualification in advice and advocacy to recognise their skills.

The team's chairman Craig Parker, aged 20, has worked voluntarily at the centre for four years and is now in his final year at university.

"We get people coming in with a broad band of issues, the regular things you hear about, like bullying, sexual health, drugs and alcohol," he said.

"It's good for them to know there are young people working here."

The team has also published a Young People's Directory - a guide to a range of local services. It has published 5,000 copies, but needs 12,000 to reach its target of getting the guide to all Year 10, 11 and 12 students in Croydon.

The group is currently seeking sponsorship in order to provide more copies of the guide. For further information contact Drop In at 020 8680 0404.

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