A FORMERLY “dilapidated” youth centre in Waterside has been given a new lease of life.
Following a flood in 2010, the Waterside Youth Centre – which is based at Dam Side, off Shaw Street – became unfit to use. Among other problems, there were holes in the walls, flooring needed re-doing and radiators were falling off.
Now, thanks to funding from the Asda Foundation, the centre, which provides facilities for young people and families who live nearby, was finally ready to be reopened on Sunday.
Asda Colne has provided over £11,000 of the building refurbishment budget, with Colne Town Council and Pendle Council also contributing financially.
The programme of restoration, which was project-managed by Groundwork Pennine Lancashire, has seen the interior of the building completely transformed and the building has been re-roofed, given new ceilings and floors, and made more contemporary. Groundwork Pennine Lancashire will now use the base as the focus for their Reach Out youth programme, which is funded by the Henry Smith Charity,
Local businesses worked at substantially reduced rates in order to restore and make improvements to the building and its facilities, and help was also provided by Lancashire Constabulary.
Ruth Shorrock, a youth project officer from Groundwork Pennine Lancashire, has been in charge of the project since April this year.
She initially had to deliver the youth programme from a nearby community cafe.
Talking to the Colne Times, she said: “It was really dilapidated. It’s a brand new start for us. It has been great to see the transformation at Waterside Youth Centre and we will be using every opportunity to utilise the base and serve the local community in the best possible way.
“We’ve been doing work from the Open Door Cafe for about a year, but it is not the same as having a youth club. We’ve been limited in what we have been able to do.”
And Diane Springthorpe, from Asda Colne said: “This has been a real partnership between private, public and community sector organisations, who are all keen to make a difference to the lives of young people locally.
“Great work is already underway, but now that the new centre is up and running, we can reach more families and have an impact on more young people.”
The Youth Club will be open on at least two evenings a week for young people aged between eight and 19, and there will be opportunities to relax, play pool or table tennis and take part in a range of activities such as DJing, cooking, gardening and art sessions.
A film making project is also being delivered on Tuesday afternoons, and it is hoped that football training sessions for both girls and boys will be provided, with the help of Pendle Leisure Trust.
The building is managed by the South Valley Children’s Action Group, which consists of local trustees that have been recruited from partner organisations and local residents.
The trustees will initially be mentored by experienced staff from Asda, Groundwork Pennine Lancashire and Pendle Council, and they will then be responsible for the future management of the premises.
The group also plan to contribute to running costs by hiring out the venue for private functions or community events.
For more information on the work of Groundwork Pennine Lancashire visit www.gwpl.co.uk.