Students in Gloucester are turning up for their studies starving and homeless
TEENAGERS in Gloucester are turning up to their studies hungry and unsure if they will have a home to go back to.
Bridge Training Limited, in Archdeacon Street, helps young people gain qualifications and practical skills and has been catering for 16 to 18-year-olds for the past 25 years.
While many students have a secure home life, others are not so fortunate and it has been revealed that some are arriving at the centre having not eaten. And others are facing up to the possibility of being made homeless.
Sally Hammond, business manager at the centre, said: "When a lot of our students turn up, the first thing we have to do is make sure they are ready to learn.
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"Whereas in most schools and colleges the children can go straight in and get on with the day, we have to make sure our students have eaten, first and foremost.
"We have had to buy toasters and we buy bread to give them breakfast. We make sure they have got Tesco vouchers, too, so they will at least have one decent meal a day. Last Friday we learned of one lad who had been handed an eviction notice and he has seven days to find somewhere new to live, so we're helping him with that, too."
She added: "Part of our job here is to make sure the students have got somewhere to live. We are much more than just a place where teenagers come to study and then they leave at the end of the day.
"I would say 10 per cent of our students live independently and require our help."
Demelza Trembath, 29, from St Oswald's, was a qualified car mechanic when she gave birth to her son at the age of 18.
When her son started school, she decided she needed a career that would fit more easily around him because he has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and Asperger syndrome. She turned to the Bridge to study beauty therapy and is now looking to start her own business.
She said: "All of the people I was studying with were older and many had children like me, so understood what I wanted to achieve. They knew what it was like to do homework at 10pm when you've done the house jobs and put the children to bed."