Youth centre gets green light

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A HUGE youth facility planned for the centre of Wigan will definitely go ahead after the council voted to provide land on Mesnes Fields for the site and part-fund the running costs.

The council will pay 40% of the annual costs of the project – around £400,000 – with only a minimal council taxpayers’ contribution.

The £6m cost for the Youth Zone building itself is being funded by millionaire triumvirate Dave Whelan, cranes tycoon Martin Ainscough and his cousin, house building giant Bill Ainscough.

Since 2008, council chiefs have been investigating proposals to bring a facility similar to the successful Bolton Lads and Girls’ Club model to Wigan, spearheaded by the businessmen.

They were praised by council leader Lord Smith for not just talking about helping their own community, but “putting their money where their mouths are” in such spectacular fashion.

The planned centre will be open until 10pm every evening, while also providing outreach services to other borough areas.

Facilities, for eight to 19-year-olds, will include sport, music and art studios, a climbing wall and an all-weather sports pitch.

Wigan Council’s Youth Service and a group of young people have been working with other partners for the past 18 months to progress the bid.

Coun Ged Bretherton, cabinet member for efficiency, told the meeting they have looked at the council’s buildings stock and come up with a plan to use money raised from sales.

Once the new Life Centre opens, the Civic Buildings next to the site will not be needed, and this will help fund the council’s financial contribution.

This will mean the borough gets a youth centre worth around £6m in exchange for a relatively small additional outlay by the council.

Coun Susan Loudon, cabinet member for children and young people, said it would give Wigan a world-class youth facility with an estimated 3,000 young people using the Boys and Girls’ club each week.

A HUGE youth facility planned for the centre of Wigan will definitely go ahead after the council voted to provide land on Mesnes Fields for the site and part-fund the running costs.

The council will pay 40% of the annual costs of the project – around £400,000 – with only a minimal council taxpayers’ contribution.

The £6m cost for the Youth Zone building itself is being funded by millionaire triumvirate Dave Whelan, cranes tycoon Martin Ainscough and his cousin, house building giant Bill Ainscough.

Since 2008, council chiefs have been investigating proposals to bring a facility similar to the successful Bolton Lads and Girls’ Club model to Wigan, spearheaded by the businessmen.

They were praised by council leader Lord Smith for not just talking about helping their own community, but “putting their money where their mouths are” in such spectacular fashion.

The planned centre will be open until 10pm every evening, while also providing outreach services to other borough areas.

Facilities, for eight to 19-year-olds, will include sport, music and art studios, a climbing wall and an all-weather sports pitch.

Wigan Council’s Youth Service and a group of young people have been working with other partners for the past 18 months to progress the bid.

Coun Ged Bretherton, cabinet member for efficiency, told the meeting they have looked at the council’s buildings stock and come up with a plan to use money raised from sales.

Once the new Life Centre opens, the Civic Buildings next to the site will not be needed, and this will help fund the council’s financial contribution.

This will mean the borough gets a youth centre worth around £6m in exchange for a relatively small additional outlay by the council.

Coun Susan Loudon, cabinet member for children and young people, said it would give Wigan a world-class youth facility with an estimated 3,000 young people using the Boys and Girls’ club each week.