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Friday, November 14, 1997 Published at 10:16 GMT


Queen opens Foyer for homeless

58 foyers across Britain

The Queen is opening an accommodation and training centre for young homeless people in the City of London.

The Salters City Foyer is the 58th such facility in the United Kingdom but the first in London's financial centre. It will house 40 people.

[ image: Providing training for youngsters]
Providing training for youngsters
The idea for foyers has been imported from France. They aim to provide more comprehensive support to young people who are out of work and homeless.

The umbrella organisation, the Foyer Federation, is promoting the idea of a "Foyer in every town" towards a network of 440 by the end of Labour's five year term.

The foyers provide shelter combined with work and training for homeless people aged between 16 and 25.

The visit by the Queen provides the Foyer Federation with a welcome publicity boost.

The Chief Executive of the Federation, Carolyn Hayman, said: "We are delighted to see Her Majesty supporting Foyers in this way.

"If we can harness this support, and that of Government ministers, to put in place secure sources of funding for Foyers, we have a real opportunity to make an enormous difference to the lives of thousands of disadvantaged young people and help break the cycle of homelessness and unemployment."

[ image: Access to latest technology]
Access to latest technology
Foyers offer affordable accommodation with access to training and employment.

At a foyer in Kent, one resident, Ross Brook, described how the combination had given him a fresh start.

"When I moved in I didn't want to do much, I had no ambition," he said.

"It has given me a kick in the right direction and I've gone far since I've moved in."

Each resident gets help to match their needs, from basic literacy work to back-up when applying for jobs.

The Kent foyer has its own restaurant, in keeping with the French tradition.

Christine Revel, who runs the foyer, said: "It gives them a chance to integrate and it teaches them social skills, which maybe they haven't got."

Foyers fit the Government's "welfare to work" strategy but they do not come cheap.

The Kent project cost £2m to build. But in two years it has helped 250 young people into work of further education.

The project manager, Andy James, said: "These sort of projects do require quite a lot of funding but in terms of the results we're acheiving they're second to none.

"So it's whether you take a short-term view and look at it from a purely monetary point of view or you look at society at a whole and you can't afford to overlook these young people and the problems they face or you're storing up problems for the future."

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