A TEENAGE boy in Hereford was dealt a devastating blow – the care placement that he loved had broken down and he would be moving away in two weeks.

Although the boy's new carers seemed nice, youth workers at Hereford charity Close House were concerned about the impact that having to change homes and families at such short notice would have on a vulnerable young person.

This year, the Hereford Times Christmas Appeal is supporting Close House as it helps young people like the boy to find their voices and discuss mental health and emotions.

“You’re my safe space and I’m going to need you to get through this,” the boy had said to Close House youth workers.

Hereford Times: Hereford Times Christmas Appeal 2023

He felt comfortable enough around them to get complicated feelings off his chest.

Other teenagers, however, can find this challenging.

The youth centre's manager Ben Lea said: “They need a lot of patience and encouragement before they can hatch a plan to move forwards.

"A supportive adult – such as a youth worker, a great teacher or a sports coach – can be the key to helping young people cope with challenged instead of being knocked off the rails.

"Sadly, some people don’t have these safe spaces or supportive relationships where they can be themselves.”

He said that men found it especially tough.

“They find it difficult to admit being confused, seeming weak or needing to depend on others,” said Mr Lea. “We hope that they see there is no weakness in talking, and that it is helpful and healthy.”

Close House is a safe space for teenagers to share their difficulties. Many of them need support to share what they are feeling, without judgement or prejudice, and Close House is a place for young people to do just that.

We think Close House and the young people it look after deserve support. That is why the annual Hereford Times Christmas Appeal, in partnership with the Herefordshire Community Foundation, aims to raise money to help the charity

  • To donate, visit www.herefordshirecf.org/donate/?donate_to=2509 or send a cheque payable to Herefordshire Community Foundation to: Hereford Times Christmas Appeal 2023, Herefordshire Community Foundation, The Fred Bulmer Centre, Wall Street, Hereford, HR4 9HP.

The appeal is open until December 31, 2023.