Medway Labour and Co-operative Councillors for the Luton and Wayfield ward have issued the following statements regarding MHS’s plans for new accommodation for care leavers at Russell House.

Cllr Joanne Howcroft-Scott, member for Luton and Wayfield said: 

“Let me start by saying that usually I have no concerns about MHS’s ability to run a foyer operation. I recently visited the Endeavour and Springboard Foyers with Cllr Cooper & was most impressed with the young and ambitious care leavers. We are actively supporting efforts made to help young people in our community who are in need in of assistance.

“It is precisely because of this that we have concerns over the plans for Russell House. The Community Safety Unit, based at Medway Police Station, were consulted by MHS on the proposal and the report they produced strongly advised that the location was not suitable for the housing of vulnerable young people. This was because of gang activity and anti-social behaviour in that area.”

“MHS need to demonstrate that they are capable of dealing with the issues creating accommodation in this area could present for care leavers and our community. We are yet to see any proof that they can, which is why myself and many concerned local residents will continue to voice our displeasure about the current plans’.

Cllr Simon Curry, Medway Labour and Co-operative Group Spokesperson for Regeneration, Culture and the Environment and Member for Luton and Wayfield added:

“There needs to be a solution that works in the best interests of our young people that need help, and in the interest of our local community here in Luton. As far as things stand, I’m not satisfied that the current plans are capable of fulfilling this criteria.”

“We know there are problems with anti-social behaviour and drug gangs in the area around Russell House and are working closely with the police and other agencies to address this. However, it is wrong to place vulnerable young people into a Foyer project here whilst these problems persist.

“If MHS are determined to go ahead then they should be prepared to invest in the local community to make it safe.

“We will continue to put pressure on MHS to seek an outcome that is in the interest of the whole community and does not put young people’s lives at risk.”

Cllr Howcroft-Scott and Cllr Cooper at the Springboard Foyer
Cllr Howcroft-Scott and Cllr Cooper at the Springboard Foyer
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