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Action pledge over youth centre
A YOUTH leader is on the brink of launching a “hard and fast” fundraising campaign for a youth centre in Ringwood and is urging residents to back the project.
Lead campaigner and chairman of the Ringwood Youth Working Party Jeremy Heron has been thrashing out plans with members to turn the former tennis court pavilion on Carvers Field into a single storey youth building.
And now he says that public support of young people in the town is key to its success.
The first draft of the building has been formulated, the budget has been fixed and Mr Heron told the Forest Journal that he hoped the proposals would be ready to be submitted for planning permission within six months.
Mr Heron said: “More than anything we need the support from everyone in Ringwood. We want people to be behind young people in Ringwood.
“Everybody knows that young people will find their own spaces to meet, which are not always the best places. They need a space they can call their own, take responsibility for it and meet in a safe environment which won't be a school but will have a light tranche of sensible supervision.
“The building would provide lots of other services for them, including advice and help if they need it.”
Mr Heron said: “We all know that parents are 'stupid' and teachers are 'out to get them' and this will offer them a listening ear if they require it from someone who is impartial and can offer sensible advice.
“Young people are under a great deal of stress and strain like never before. The building will improve the look of Carvers and will be giving a focus for our teenagers.
“If they want these facilities to flourish they are going to have to be responsible for them and make sure they are not an inconvenience to Carvers or its nearby residents.
“Ringwood residents should feel they want to give young people this opportunity to prove themselves, be worthy and responsible.
“We have a social responsibility for all age groups in our community and society has a certain level of social responsibility for everybody.”
The dream of a £250,000 drop in centre for young people in Ringwood was first mooted 18 months ago, with calls from teenagers claiming they had no-where of their own to meet.
New Forest District Council has pledged £30,000 towards the centre and Ringwood Town Council will make a contribution, although the figures have not yet been finalised.
Campaigners will start to make bids to fundraising bodies and launch their own campaign.
Mr Heron said: “We will be begging the county council for a grant and do all we can to raise the money hard and fast to make this a reality.”
The proposals include an office, interview room and a function room, which would include a cafe and kitchen. The building would face the skate park.