Bridge Named in Honour of Co-Founder Debbie Pezzani

Home Bridge Named in Honour of Co-Founder Debbie Pezzani
27 Sep 2021

Bridge Named in Honour of Co-Founder Debbie Pezzani

Hertfordshire County Council has officially announced that a new footbridge in the Borough of Broxbourne, part of the New River Bridge Improvement Scheme, will be named The Debbie Pezzani Footbridge in honour of Teens Unite Co-Founder, Debbie Pezzani.

Residents were asked to nominate local heroes as part of a competition to name the new community bridge in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire.

The New River Bridge and adjacent footbridge - both on Essex Road - opened in March to boost access to the town’s business park, which plays a significant role in providing local jobs and supporting the local economy.

Debbie said “she was humbled” to learn that the footbridge was to be named after her. She grew up in and around Hoddesdon and made a home for the Charity there in 2007, ensuring that it would be supported in the heart of the community she has always been proud to be a part of.

Mayor of Broxbourne, Councillor David Taylor and Leader fo the Council, Councillor Lewis Cocking, officiated the naming of the footbridge on Monday 27th September and presented Debbie Pezzani with a certificate recognisng her and the Charity's  achievements during the pandemic.

It seems particularly appropriate to name a bridge, designed to connect communities, after Debbie who has dedicated her work to creating a very special community. Teens Unite’s core mission is to connect young people. Our activities help them to develop their own vital social support networks and so create a community of young people who are linked by their experience, and who come together to live their lives beyond their diagnosis.

The emergence of the Covid-19 crisis meant that Debbie, and the team at Teens Unite, had to rapidly rethink how to deliver support to the hundreds of young people we support – and true to Debbie’s character we were most definitely not afraid to reinvent ourselves.  

Since the start of the “lockdown” more than 1,100 young people who are fighting cancer and its’ long-term effects have taken part in one of more than 250 online activities that Debbie and the Charity has hosted. And, as Covid restrictions lift, we are making a safe return to our face-to-face activities too.

And our ambitions do not stop there as we plan to make the Borough the hub of our service delivery expansion. Debbie and the team have been working with Broxbourne Council to find a home to build England’s first purpose-built retreat for young people fighting the long-term, and often hidden, effects of cancer.

Debbie says of the plans, “The Retreat will be known as The House of Teens Unite, and we are delighted to have submitted plans for the build to take place on land we have acquired in a rural, countryside location in the Borough”. 

Young people, aged 13-24, will visit the house for day activities along with short, three-night residential stays, in a fully staffed environment. The House will allow them to spend time with others their age in a similar situation, whilst learning new skills and positively challenging themselves through the different activities the Charity organises. 

Debbie goes on to say “We have been providing this support to teenagers and young adults fighting cancer for the past 14 years, but without a base to facilitate our activities and residential stays, we have reached our capacity for the support we can provide. The House of Teens Unite will enable us to offer greater opportunities to more young people at a time when they need us most, enabling them to continue living their years as a young adult in the best possible way.” 

Find out more about our plans for The House of Teens Unite.

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