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What does First Steps New Forest do?

We are a small community based charity that has been working for twenty years with people of Gypsy origin living in bricks and mortar in a rural area, disadvantaged by isolation.

We employ two part time Community Development Workers who work on an individual basis with families and individuals dealing with matters such as Housing, Health, Education, Sexual Health, Young Offenders, Benefits and Debt.

We also work closely with other agencies such as housing, education, police, social services, connextions and other voluntary sectors, which often rely on us in order to make contact with this community. We spend considerable time advocating on behalf of this ethnic minority, always promoting their needs and cultural background.

We also have a small group called ‘Next Step’ that works solely with around ten young adults with Learning Difficulties. These young adults need a high level of support. We offer these young adults and their families help, support and activities that otherwise they would find hard to engage in such as trips to the swimming pool, beach, museum, trampolining etc.

At present we have over one hundred and fifty members from the local settled Gypsy community on our data base that we regularly come into contact with.

We also run an After School Club session for children and youths between the ages of seven and twenty years. We try to help them to gain new skills in basic literature, I.T, health education, sexual health and to increase their self esteem and confidence.

We create a stable environment so that these young people can share their worries and concerns and try to provide some activities which young people will enjoy and that will help them achieve success. We feel every child has the right to achieve their full potential.

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