Councils agree to fund £340K youth centre for the town

First published in Romsey

HUNDREDS of thousands of pounds will be poured into a project to provide better facilities for youngsters.

Plans have been submitted to build a new base for Youth in Romsey, estimated to cost £342,000.

The project will be funded by Hampshire County Council and Test Valley Borough Council, after feedback from Romsey Future, a project which aims to collect people’s views on the town’s facilities, stressed the need for a new youth centre.

Youth in Romsey, a charity, was launched in 1997 by the town’s churches and supports 200 youngsters aged 11 to 25 every month holding activities and helping with issues relating to education, employment, finances and sexual and mental health.

But it has outgrown its premises above Anya shoe shop in Bell Street and the organisation hopes their new home at Romsey Sports Centre, next to the cricket pavilion, will be more welcoming and accessible, enabling them to help more young people.

The purpose-built building will be all on one level, making it easier for wheelchair users and parents with pushchairs to visit.

It will also have car parking and bike storage.

Project manager Wendy Herbert, said: “It’s fantastic news because a lot of things for young people seem to be closing nationally, so we are lucky to get this opportunity and the young people of Romsey are lucky to have it.

“With the new building, we can continue to do as much as we can for young people.”

Chairman of Youth in Romsey, Ina Hibberd, said: “This is great news for Romsey’s young people and I am grateful to the Borough and County Councils for helping fund this brilliant project.

“We have closely consulted the young people on their wishes and this proposal meets their requirements. Test Valley as well as contributing funding are making land available at the Sports Centre which is an ideal site. It is easily accessible from most parts of the town. It is close to popular attractions such as The Rapids, the skate park and existing sports facilities which is good and will not cause any difficulties with neighbours because there aren’t any. “There are superb uniformed youth organisations in the town as well as church groups, sports clubs and activities at Romsey and Mountbatten Schools but it is not all youngsters who want those sorts of activity and that is where Youth in Romsey has a vital role to play.”

The borough council’s community and leisure boss, Tony Ward, said: “It is so important that we have somewhere for young people to relax and socialise, as well as receive advice and support. The accommodation in Bell Street simply isn’t suitable and a new youth centre would provide an alternative solution to satisfy Youth in Romsey and the local community.

“The Romsey Future initiative has proved invaluable in identifying the issues that matter most to residents, and our work on the project continues apace.”

Youth in Romsey hope work will start on the new building early 2015 ready to open before next summer.

For more information, log on to yir.org.uk.

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