Planning permission sought to help young people through landmark expansion of Ludlow’s Foyer

Shropshire Housing Group has applied for planning permission to extend Ludlow’s Foyer (16/00761/FUL). The plans involve demolishing Harvest House and building a new wing to the existing Marston’s Mill building. The extension will be clad in weathered copper shingles. A new reception area will be built on the railway side between the two wings.

Marston’s Mill is home to Ludlow Foyer, a housing project that provides accommodation for up to 15 young people young people aged 16-25. To reside in the Foyer, young people need to commit to training, education and employment. The new building will provide 11 additional residential units.

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Shropshire and Ludlow are lagging on higher education – 200 young people a year miss out

I see in the Ludlow Advertiser Philip Dunne is welcoming the increase in young people applying to go university. He fails to mention that his own constituency is performing worse than much of England. Ludlow used to be ahead of the game but is now trailing behind.

The data released by UCAS earlier this month are really quite shocking. All of Shropshire is falling behind the rest of England in university admissions. We would have more than 200 extra students applying to go to university every year if we achieved the national average.

Ludlow slides down higher education league tables

When Philip Dunne was elected as our MP ten years ago, just 181 of the 533 constituencies in England had a higher rate of university applications than Ludlow. In 2016, 301 constituencies do better than Ludlow. That’s not a good track record.

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Ludlow Foyer – which does so much to help young people – is threatened with closure as cuts bite

The Ludlow Foyer is highly regarded for its work with young people. It provides a secure and supported pathway from a difficult childhood into work and independent accommodation. But it could well close as local and national spending cuts bite.

The Foyer provides low cost rented flats for fifteen young people (aged 16-25) who are continuing education, starting training or a job. The level of rent, currently £212 a week, means that many residents rely on benefits to secure their accommodation. The cost is worth it. Young people at the Foyer are supported by key workers. They sign up to a training plan and are supported into work. Young people arrive in difficulty and leave with greater confidence. In money terms alone, this will lead to lower social costs later in life. But most importantly, young people will have been given a boost that will improve their life chances and wellbeing.

The Foyer has been helping young people since 2000. But it is now facing the threat of closure because the finances no longer stack up in a period of cuts.

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Resilient Ludlow: We are embarking on an ambitious new project for young people next week

The countdown is on.

From April Fool’s Day 2017, Shropshire Council is predicting that it will no longer be able to fund youth services in the county. Even if it can find money, it will not be enough to fund youth support at the level we are used to or that we need.

The future of Ludlow Youth Centre remains uncertain. We want it to be transferred to community ownership to keep it safe for future generations. But we worry that Shropshire Council is planning to move yet move staff into the building, making it more of an office and less of a youth hub. We need the squatters out so that it can become a dedicated youth centre again.

Money and bricks and mortar are not the only issues we face.

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