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Tears of excitement as charity celebrates public vote success bringing an Annabelle Davis Centre for Wisbech closer to reality

Charity workers looking to create a new centre for families in need in Wisbech are today (Wednesday) celebrating after winning £100,000 of funding.

The Young People's Counselling Service (YPCS) wants to establish an Annabelle Davis Centre at St Peter's Lodge and last month the Citizen ran a story appealing to readers to support the project by voting in a public vote run by Persimmon Homes, to win funding.

Nicola Houghton, who is a trustee of YPCS and school business manager at St Peter's School in Wisbech, posted news of the charity's success in securing the funding on Facebook today.

Annabelle Davis and dad Warwick Davis are celebrity patrons on the project to open an Annabelle Davis Centre in Wisbech. PHOTO: BBC
Annabelle Davis and dad Warwick Davis are celebrity patrons on the project to open an Annabelle Davis Centre in Wisbech. PHOTO: BBC

She said: "Excuse the puffy eyes this morning - lots of happy tears last night and far too excited to sleep.

"Still pinching myself! £100,000, half of which is earmarked for Wisbech - what a difference this is going to make in helping to establish the Wisbech Annabelle Davis Centre.

"Almost two years ago I vowed to make a change and ensure local children have somewhere to go when they are experiencing poor mental health. Seeing first hand the devastating impact of lack of support in our town broke my heart. This is just the beginning, thank you so much every single one of you that voted to support YPCS."

YPCS, which has provided free counselling for young people for over 25 years, wants toset up "family resiliency centres" to help families before they hit a crisis point.

The Annabelle Davis Centres are named after the actress daughter of Star Wars actor Warwick Davis, who stars in the CBBC's The Dumping Ground.

Warwick and Annabelle are both patrons of the project which is set to open its first centre in Yaxley shortly. It is hoped to open the Wisbech centre next year.

The centres will be safe places where people can get assistance with a wide range of issues that adversely affect families in the heart of their local community. This includes mental health support, the threat of homelessness, financial difficulties, substance abuse or a lack of opportunities.

Each centre will have a unique offering of services, specific to the community it serves. Partner organisations such as local authorities, police, charities and other service providers will occupy the space alongside the YPCS team, sharing integrated case management software to help avoid users having to repeat their information and to prevent the abdication of responsibility.

YPCS believes the key to success will be an integrated and collective approach to finding solutions.

Nicola said:"To give us the clinical and strategic credibility required for a project of this scale we have assembled a team of experts from the medical profession, educational field, voluntary sector and business world. All of our board members are volunteers. "

Persimmon Homes has already paid for a complete overall of the Yaxley site but ran the public voting competition to allocate £100,000 to other good causes, with YPCS just one of those that were in the running.

If individuals or businesses would like to contribute towards the charity's aims, they can do soat www.ypcs.uk.

Nicola said: "Our core service of free counselling costs £400 for each child we support, therefore we are always incredibly grateful for donations to ensure our waiting list is kept as short as possible."

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