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Assistant Police and Crime Commissioner Judy Foster visited The What? Centre in Stourbridge following its win at the PCC’S Outstanding Citizens Awards.

The centre, which runs a volunteer counselling scheme that helps more than 100 children and young people a week, was runner up in the Outstanding Community Project category.

Councillor Foster said: “I first visited the centre back in the 1990s when I became a councillor and wanted to return following its win at the awards night to see how it has flourished.

“I am delighted it has been recognised for its work – I really am so impressed with what it has to offer.

“The volunteer counsellors are wonderful and they achieve real results improving the lives and mental health of our young people.”

The volunteering team at The What? Centre in Coventry Street helps young people aged between 13 and 25 who are troubled or battling mental health issues.

All of the volunteers are trained counsellors who give up their free time to help 120 youngsters a week via 5,500 sessions a year. They volunteer on weekdays, evenings and weekends and the scheme is proving so successful, there is currently a waiting list of 120.

Chief officer Julie Duffy said: “We have been going for 31 years and help young people battling issues such as addiction, eating disorders and sexual abuse.

“It is wonderful to see the young people thrive and become more confident and get into employment as a result of the work.

“The vast majority of people here are volunteers and I am very very proud of them all. It is an incredible feeling to see the young people’s lives improve.

“Everybody is aware of the mental health issues facing our country and there is a real need to work with young people and children as a priority and there needs to be more projects like this.”

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