Centre which helps youngsters celebrates 20 years

l-r Lindsay Taylor, Health Promotion Co-ordinator, Becky Woods, Daniel Hannam, both Young Person's Health Development Workers, Fiona Feris, Deputy Manager and Nicola Wright, Young Person's Health Development Worker. Picture: Marie Caley D3271MC
l-r Lindsay Taylor, Health Promotion Co-ordinator, Becky Woods, Daniel Hannam, both Young Person's Health Development Workers, Fiona Feris, Deputy Manager and Nicola Wright, Young Person's Health Development Worker. Picture: Marie Caley D3271MC

A GROUP which has helped thousands of teenagers with drink, drug, health and confidence issues has celebrated it’s 20th birthday.

Staff at Jigsaw estimate they have on average helped 1,000 teens a month since opening in February 1992 and saved the NHS in Doncaster £2 million annually by tackling obesity, sexual health, smoking and drinking as well as building up confidence in young people.

Area manager Marie Tate, who has been at Jigsaw since it opened, said: “When we first opened counselling for people who weren’t well off was almost unheard of.

“When people walk through our door they don’t get judged and I think our success is partly down to the fact that young people aren’t ashamed to come in here.”

People who have been helped include a girl who wanted to be cabin crew, but after building up her aspirations went on to take flying lessons and a boy described as painfully shy, who went on to become a chef at a top hotel before applying to the famed Leith’s school of cookery.

The centre helps people aged between 13 and 19 who can be referred by teachers, family, doctors or friends, who might need physical, mental or emotional help, through a range of interactive activities such as shopping on a budget or playing the Wii.

It is also open for practical skills such as writing a CV and filling in job applications.

When Jigsaw first opened HIV and AIDS were common concerns, but now issues such as grooming on social media sites, drugs, alcohol and smoking are the main problems.

Doncaster Central MP Rosie Winterton has been involved with Jigsaw in Nether Hall Road for the last 15 years.

She said: “What is great about Jigsaw is it builds up a relationship with people that allows them to reach their true potential.

“It is important for young people to have confidence about being able to fulfil their individual potential.”