A NEW support service for vulnerable young people in West Oxfordshire is now under way – with hopes it will grow in size as time goes on.

Witney-based social enterprise Synolos has launched its new initiative for children in the district in an effort to pick up the pieces left by youth charity Base 33, which declared itself insolvent last year.

The new scheme has had some response in the community – but Synolos founder Barry Ingleton believes some young people may be anxious about engaging with it.

He encouraged anybody hesitant about the new group to get in touch, and said Synolos would be doing some community outreach soon to raise its profile in the area.

Mr Ingleton said: “It’s bit by bit. Base 33 had been around for 15 years, everyone knew about it.

“We made the bold move so those who needed something would have hope in the short term.

“Once we have funding we can offer more if there is a need and people want us to help.

“We found the low numbers a bit odd considering the number that Base had said they were working with.

“However, the type of young person who we want to work with might not come to us.

"Our next stage will be doing outreach work within the community.”

Drop in sessions at Synolos, in Station Lane, Witney, began on Tuesday, January 30.

They will continue to run on Tuesdays from 1pm to 3pm.

The drop-ins give visitors the opportunity to book support sessions. That session will then assess what support that young person might need and the process will be taken from there.

Its aim is to support young people in becoming independent and healthy and ensuring they have access to appropriate training, education and employment prospects.

The initiative is linked to Synolos’s training, enterprise and mental health support programmes.

Mr Ingleton’s decision to launch the new service came in December, following the sudden news of Base 33’s closure.

The charity, which closed after declaring itself insolvent in November, had provided specialist support for hundreds of young people in and around Witney for about 15 years.

It was established as a support service for all young people in the community – with a focus on those with complex needs and substance abuse problems.

Its care ranged all the way from youth clubs to specialised one-on-one support.

The charity appeared often in the pages of the Witney Gazette.

Mr Ingleton hopes the community will champion the new initiative and support it, whether financially or with skills.

He said: “Its not something we have ever asked for in the past but if the public feel they can trust us to do a good job and we are offering something that is needed then

"I feel it would be great for people to get on board and to help us build something together.

“But donations are not always about money: it can be about time and skills and passionate people wanting to make change."