COUNCIL chiefs have give the green light for an “exciting” extension to the Boys and Girls Club.
Former Drumcroon art education centre will be leased on a peppercorn rent, the ruling Cabinet agreed, to provide a £1.5m state of the art facility, as exclusively revealed earlier by the Evening Post.
The new ‘Junior Youth Zone’ will provide activities for children aged eight to 11 at evenings and weekends, complimenting the existing Youth Zone adjacent from 2013 immediately next door.
In addition, the club plans to invite existing national charity Hop, Skip and Jump to provide a centre for young people with special educational needs during those hours when the centre is not being operated as the Junior Youth Zone.
Cabinet member for Children and Young People Coun Susan Loudon said it was a “unique opportunity and a prime example” of the council’s “commitment to young people.”
She said: “We could have sold the building for around £225,000...however the long term benefits of providing this service to children across the borough far outweigh the need to bring in that capital receipt. We are delighted to support this venture, which will undoubtedly enrich the lives of thousands of children.”
Martin Ainscough, one of the three millionaire sponsors along with Dave Whelan and his cousin Bill Ainscough of Wigan Boys and Girls Club, said: “I’m thrilled that the council has agreed to transfer the building to the Wigan Boys and Girls Club charity, as are Bill and Dave.
“It’s testimony to the council’s commitment of ensuring brand new facilities are provided for young people in the borough.
“This will now give us the opportunity to provide a facility specifically for children with special needs and respite care for parents in conjunciton with the charity ‘Hop, Skip and Jump’. It’s exciting and we’re keen to get cracking.”