LETTER: hostel is a vital service and I would fight closure


On reading in the Advertiser the report entitled ‘Complaints made over youth hostel’ I was left feeling utterly dismayed by the comments of two local councillors.

Whilst I do sympathise with local residents who have been affected by alleged anti-social behaviour (ASB), there surely must be something that can be done to address this problem rather than closing this vital community service.

I attended a meeting a few years ago when there was one complainant at the time wanting Stepping Stones in Eastwood to be closed for ASB reasons. Most residents who attended the meeting supported the hostel, feeling that it was a good community service for the area and much needed for youngsters who have either left home through no fault of their own or indeed been thrown out of their family home.

We are not talking of terminating an allotment holder’s contract here.

I feel that by closing the hostel it could in effect be putting youngsters back on the streets!

How thoroughly awful that would be. Some of these youngsters have had to endure terrible issues. Some youngsters have had to endure violence.

To me they have had a very poor start in life and need our support and encouragement.

I’ve seen the progress of some of the youngsters and how they have turned their lives around at the hostel such is the management at Stepping Stones.

In my view the establishment is well run and curfews are in place with guidelines to adhere to.

Sometimes I feel that whenever there is a problem on that side of town people refer to ‘Stepping Stones’ and blame the youngsters but on checking with the police this has definitely not been the case!

A life back on the streets is not the answer, I feel, but mediation and support to all parties concerned is the way forward.
Closure? I’m sorry but I would fight that all the way.

Cllr Josie Marsters,

Eastwood Town Council.