New hope for youth centre in Ringwood

Salisbury Journal: An architect's drawing of how the youth centre might look An architect's drawing of how the youth centre might look

A YOUTH leader in Ringwood has pledged that work will finally start on the long-awaited youth building in September if funding can be secured.

Chairman of the Ringwood Youth Working Party Jeremy Heron says although it will be a “challenge” he hopes the scheme for the £300,000 purpose-built building at Carvers Field for the town’s teenagers will start in just four months.

He said: “It is such a shame that many of the young people, who brought the plan to light three years ago, are now too old to use it.

“But we are determined to secure the funding so we can start building it in September.”

Residents, parents and organisations are also supporting the scheme that will see the single-storey youth café built on the former tennis court pavilion.

Three years ago, a dedicated group of Ringwood School pupils put a plan into action for a cafe-style building that they can call their own.

After scores of presentations, the student group secured the backing of Hampshire County Council, New Forest District Council and Ringwood Town Council, who have all pledged funding for the scheme.

And a town council application for the project to receive charitable status is expected to be submitted in the next two weeks, with the application expected to be determined within six weeks.

Ringwood Town Council clerk Stephen Nash said: “I can confirm that about two thirds of the funding needed will be in place, the rest will hopefully be secured from Lottery grants other funders.

“This project has been in the making for the last three years, but young people in Ringwood have been calling for a facility for the last 20 years. This is as close as we have come so far.”

Mr Nash added: “This scheme will go ahead.”

District planners agreed the scheme in February and the plans are currently being finalised by the architects before being put out to tender in July.

Mr Heron said: “Anyone with teenagers knows how vital it is for them to have their own space. Once the scheme has secured charitable status, we will be in a position to apply for Lottery grants along with support from organisations in the town.

Securing all the funding needed will be a challenge, but there is no point in having a target that is not challenging.”

Ringwood School’s assistant head teacher Margaret Olive said: “The sooner the cafe is built, the better. Many students do not realise how long the planning process is and it is hard to keep momentum. Once the foundations are built the students will be able to see that the project is a reality “It’s lovely to see that something the students were instrumental in during the early days is going to happen.”

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