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Teenagers from Austen House in Calmore have special prom

Teenagers with mental health problems enjoyed a special prom night thanks to staff at a New Forest unit and local businesses.

A local hairdresser helped excited youngsters at Calmore’s Austen House get ready for their big day, and they were able to chose from a range of beautiful dresses donated by Prom Ally and Solent Prom Dress.

Flowers were supplied by staff to wear in their hair, or wear as a corsage. Southern Health charity Brighterway paid for vehicles from New Forest Limousines to give the teenagers a drive around Southampton before the prom which was hosted at Austen House.

Teenagers had a special prom at Austen House in Calmore
Teenagers had a special prom at Austen House in Calmore

Guests enjoyed a buffet cooked by staff at the home which is a specialist mental health service for youngsters aged 12-18.

One of the teenagers who attended said: “Prom was everything I hoped it to be and more. It meant the world to me to see all these incredibly kind people care and take it the extra mile for us, just out of the generosity of their hearts. We cannot be more grateful for this experience.

“It is so gut-wrenching to see other people my age reaches these milestones and feel left behind, but with this prom it gave us the chance to feel ‘normal’, even just for one day. It gave me motivation for recovery and showed us that sometimes, life is fun. Thank you so much.”

One of the parents said the event had eased the dread of seeing prom pictures from her child’s peers: “Seeing my young person looking so well in her beautiful dress and happy from her limo ride has soothed the potential pain for me, so I am extremely grateful to all concerned and hope that they know how much difference these gestures make.”

Austen House’s Bethan Grundy said: “Austen House recognises that life is put on pause when someone is ill, so we are really pleased the young people in our care were able to experience this special milestone.

“Thank you to all local businesses who helped make the day so magical for our young people”.

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