We are lucky to have The Box for young people

I spent an inspiring evening last Thursday at The Box in Epping High Street. Most people in Epping will have passed the premises many times and perhaps peered through the windows and wondered what goes on inside. The Supporters’ Evening was a marvellous opportunity to find out.

The Box describes itself as “a social space, information point and education centre for young people” but it was clear that activity goes far beyond this. As well as providing open drop-in sessions, The Box enables young people to access specialist counselling, health and advice services.

Trustee Alison Dolan explains the success of the Alternative Education scheme

It also delivers alternative education sessions to pupils who are unable to complete their studies successfully at school. I was  impressed to hear how many of these pupils enter college or begin paid employment thanks to the team’s work and the much valued support of some local employers.

A wide range of organisations work in partnership with The Box to help local children and young people including Connexions, Theatre Resource, East 15, Concept Fitness, Epping Sports Centre, West Essex Primary Care Trust and Essex County Council’s TASCC team (“Team Around the School, Child and the Community”).

What shone out most of all was the sheer commitment of the trustees, staff and volunteers. We are very fortunate to have in Epping such an energetic group of people dedicated to meeting the needs of local young people. And there are exciting plans for future expansion too.

The Box is currently running a Christmas fundraising campaign. Details of how to donate are at www.theboxepping.org.uk/donate.htm.

Dragonfly artwork produced by The Box Alternative Education project for the Swaines Green Lantern Festival in September 2009