Originally called the ‘Carey Place Young People’s Information and Advisory Service’, Signpost emerged in 1970 when Dr Edwards, a local GP and juvenile magistrate, decided to help the large number of young people displaying mental health symptoms caused by boredom and dissatisfaction with home, school, work and life in general. He worked with the Senior Youth & Community Officer to establish a bureau which would offer both information and counselling to young people.
A Management Committee was formed comprising representatives from the many voluntary and statutory services already operating in Watford, including the Police, Social Services, Probation, Careers Service, Education, Samaritans, Citizens Advice Bureau, Magistrates Bench and Youth Service. The first training course, introducing the rudiments of counselling skills and how referral agencies worked, was run and 15 volunteers were recruited to deliver the service on three evenings each week. Youth & Community Services offered accommodation and a part time youth worker and on January 16th 1973 Carey Place was opened.
Since then we have worked in a number of locations, including Youth Connexions building in Lower High Street and sharing the Herts Young Homeless offices at the Parade, both in central Watford. Since Autumn 2010, we have been based in the Watford Advice Centre. With the growing role of Youth Connexions in providing advice and information to young people, Signpost has increasingly specialised as a counselling provider.
Since 2009 we have met the gap in youth counselling delivery in Hertsmere and have operated out of Youth Connexions One-stop-shop in Borehamwood, Number 10 Leeming Road, the Worknet Building on the main road and have finally rested at the Borehamwood and Elstree Children’s Centre. Our commitment to continuing to expand and to spread the reach of our work is demonstrated by the establishment of satellites in Rickmansworth/Maple Cross and South Oxhey.
Signpost was also a founding member of Cross Herts Community Counselling (CHeCC), a consortium of voluntary sector organisations delivering youth counselling in Hertfordshire, which works to provide consistent high-quality youth counselling across the County.
On 1st April 2014 we formally merged with Urban Access, our sister agency in Dacorum and so now also deliver youth counselling from bases in Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted and Tring.