Sasha’s Project in Fleet

Based in Fleet, Sasha’s Project is a drop-in crisis centre for young people who are struggling with their mental health.

CommunityAd had the pleasure of speaking with Trustee Angela Forster to find out more about this incredible charity…


For readers who may not know, can you tell us more about Sasha’s Project, how it got started and what your aims are?

Sasha’s Project is a charity which has been set up in memory of Sasha, our daughter, who died by suicide when she was just 20. Sasha’s struggles were exacerbated by the lack of help available to her when her mental health was poor. When she was feeling suicidal, she needed compassion, support and a safe place to go to, especially during the night.

In response to the difficulties Sasha faced, we are running a drop-in crisis centre at The Point Youth Centre, Harlington Way, Fleet GU51 4BP. This is open from 9pm to 6am every Friday and Saturday night for all young people aged 13 to 25.

Currently, if a young person is in crisis in Hampshire and Surrey borders, options for help can be limited, especially during the night. With cases of young suicides rising nationally, we aim to provide support that fills this gap.

We can offer young people the opportunity to be heard in complete confidence, in a caring, non-clinical, safe environment. It is somewhere young people can be supported through a crisis, with the aim of reducing their risk of self-harm and suicide. We also equip them with basic self-help tools and support them to develop a future crisis plan.

We are fundraising for both the money to continue running the drop-in centre and training our Listening Volunteers, and also for our ultimate aim of opening a crisis house in the centre of Fleet. This would be open 24/7 with facilities that allow for overnight stays. This is part of a long-term plan that involves raising substantial funds.


What would you say have been your proudest moments with Sasha’s Project?

I would say the very first night we opened. We thought long and hard about how we would like to support young people like Sasha and when we decided that night-time support was the way to go, it took a further two years of research, planning, training and fundraising before we were finally able to open on 27th March 2021, nearly four years after Sasha died.


Are you looking for volunteers? If so, how can readers get in touch to find out more?

We are always looking for volunteers, so we’d love to hear from anyone who is interested! Our Listening Volunteers are warm and approachable, caring and reliable but they are not mental health professionals. We are not there to give advice or to counsel a young person, we are simply there to listen. The drop-in centre is somewhere that young people can talk openly about their feelings without being judged or misunderstood. All our volunteers are carefully trained, and it’s important to us that we provide an environment that is safe, supportive environment (for both our volunteers and our visitors). Our volunteers are never left to deal with a situation alone and will always be backed by experienced youth workers every step of the way. Also, in case people are put off by the thought of having to be on shift all night – you don’t have to volunteer all night long; our shifts are divided into 2-hour, or 4-hour slots and you can choose which you prefer. On average, our volunteers work one shift a month.


What are your plans and aims for 2023? Do you have any events planned?

There are lots of great fundraising events planned for the coming year which will be advertised on our social media, but in addition to those, we will be training our volunteers to get out and about, going into Fleet to build relationships with the young people of our community on their ‘home ground’, and to potentially identify and offer support to young people with mental health issues.


From a personal perspective, what do you enjoy most about living in Fleet?

We have lived here for over twenty years, and I love the community spirit of Fleet, the way that we all look out for each other and support each other. When Sasha went missing, which sadly she often did, as I would run down Fleet Road trying to spot her, local businesses and people would indicate through their windows which direction she had gone in. It mean that during those incredibly difficult times, I never felt alone.


Find out more about Sasha’s Project including how to get involved by visiting their Facebook @sashasproject.

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