We are delighted to announce that we have completed the purchase of what will be our first centre in Kent. The property which is set to become Amber’s fourth supported living centre is the 13-bedroom Downsview Guest House on Willesborough Road, Kennington, on the outskirts of Ashford.
The purchase follows our success in securing planning permission from Ashford Borough Council to change the property’s use to allow us to create a new home to provide 24/7 support to young people aged 16-30.
Paul Rosam, Chief Executive of Amber Foundation, said: “This is great news as we know there is a growing need across Kent for the support we offer. Work on converting the guest house can get under way immediately and we hope to open its doors in the early part of 2022.
“The last couple of years have been particularly difficult for young people, especially those who may not have had the best start in life. Our Ashford centre means we will be able to help some of the county’s estimated 2,500 young homeless get their lives back on track.”
Funding for the Ashford centre has been provided by the Henry Oldfield Trust, a grant-giving charity, chaired by Richard Oldfield, Deputy Lieutenant of Kent and former High Sheriff, and a trustee of Amber Foundation.
Welcoming the decision, Richard Oldfield said: “Amber has a strong reputation for working in partnership and supporting the community. Its arrival in Kent will help get young people into training and the world of work.
“I’ve seen first-hand how Amber works and The Henry Oldfield Trust is delighted to be helping make its vision for a centre in Kent a reality.”
Downsview will add to our existing supported living centres in Devon, Surrey and Wiltshire, from where we provide education, training and employment support working closely with local authorities and other charity partners.
Young people are introduced to Amber by local authority housing and leaving care teams, as well as other charities, hostels and the probation service. Each young person is given a formal assessment to make sure they are suitable for the service and are motivated to move forward with their lives.
Ashford Borough Council’s planning officers granted permission without the need to go to planning committee as the change of use application complied with local planning policies.
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