Been there



About Off Centre

Since 1974, Off Centre has been supporting the young people of Hackney.  Throughout this period Off Centre has remained true to our original mission - to serve the needs of the young people in Hackney aged 13-25 years old.  In the 12 months January 2009 to January 2010, 1227 young people accessed an Off Centre service. From August 2010 Off Centre has lowered the age of our service users from 13 to 11 years.

Off Centre has survived in the increasingly competitive voluntary sector for the same reason that this Charity is set to grow: Off Centre listens and then responds to what the young people tell us.  Every service that we provide or new project we set up is a response to an identified need.  This is why in the last year Off Centre got a call from the Big Lottery to say that we had been awarded £500,000 for a new four year project.  

Long before it was a fixture on national and regional agendas, the Off Centre steering group (made up of professionals and young people in the borough) had spotted that the most difficult time in a person's life is making the successful transition from a child to an adult. Off Centre continues this targeted work and has a strong therapeutic service in place - providing counselling, art and drama therapy sessions - to support young people.

How We Help

In the main, the young people coming to Off Centre present with multiple and complex issues. The range of needs include bereavement, family breakdown, substance misuse problems, young offenders, in care/leaving care, teenage pregnancy, victims/perpetrators of crime, abuse and violence in the home, mental health problems, asylum seekers and refugees. We have developed expertise in working with young people who have mental health and emotional problems as a result of violence, trauma, abuse, emotional distress, discrimination and disadvantage. We recognise the impact that these experiences can have on mental health and wellbeing, and the need for a combination of services to prevent or minimise the harm caused as a result.

At Off Centre’s core will always be the therapeutic service; however, Off Centre has long recognised that practical issues affect a person’s well being.  That is why our information and advice service has been expanded into the psychosocial service.  Young people can now access a whole range of support including, casework, housing drop-in, access to services, volunteering opportunities and training.  

Off Centre has increased what’s on offer to young people under the following three areas of work: therapeutic service, psychosocial service, and a training and consultancy service.  The range of support will continue to broaden with Off Centre providing a holistic service for the wellbeing of young people, based on what they want.

Working in Partnership

We welcome and value partnership working and recent partnerships have included work with established statutory services such as CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service) ; CHYPS a sexual health project for young people; community groups such as Rathbone ; Green Door; supported housing associations and schools based initiatives such as The Health Hut, which provides mental health awareness in schools.

With Thanks

We could not talk about Off Centre without a word of thanks to the team and young people:

Off Centre couldn’t do what is does without a committed, hard working professional team of Staff and Volunteers.  Their determination means Off Centre continues to support the most vulnerable young people in our community, some of which, in the words of our young people, would be dead without Off Centre’s support.

Thanks to for letting us using her pictures and her great collaboration with Off Centre.

Lastly but most importantly, a word to the young people who access our services: 
The resilience and courage you show in seeking out help and facing at times, the most traumatic of experiences is commendable.  Off Centre is committed in continuing to providing you with a service shaped by you and reflective of your needs.

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