Work on new youth centre gets underway in Newport

YOUNG people in Newport will soon have their own place to go after work got underway on a purpose-built youth centre in the village.

Uttlesford District Council chairman Cllr Sue Schneider dug the first hole at the land off Frambury Lane on Tuesday morning to officially mark the start of the building project.

Funding for the �167,000 project came thanks to a substantial grant from Viridor Credits Environmental and further grants from the district council’s Community and Youth Initiatives Working Group, Essex County Council Community Initiatives Fund and the Essex Youth Bank plus local fundraising.

The Jikes Youth Centre was set up in September 2006 and until now has been renting space from the Scouts.

But now Newport Parish Council has given permission for the building on its land, which is adjacent to the Scout hut, and after planning permission was obtained the work can get underway.

Cllr Schneider said: “Today marks the culmination of over three years of commitment and hard work by many people to raise the funds for this project. There is still some way to go before the building and the internal fittings are complete; however I’m sure that everyone will enjoy the facility when it is finished. I wish the youth club members and leaders every success for the future and congratulate everyone involved for their magnificent efforts so far.”

Parish and district councillor Andrew Yarwood is chairman of the Jikes Youth Centre management committee.

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He said: “The old Newport youth club closed five or six years ago but it was clear there was a need for one in Newport, so I started Jikes four and a half years ago in the Scout hut.

“One evening became two evenings and we now provide activities for about 80 children and teenagers a week, with Tuesday evenings for nine to 12-year-olds and Thursday evenings for 12 to 18-year-olds.

“We have a committee with several young people on it that runs the club and we look forward to being able to expand our offering once we are in our new home.

“I am very proud of what has been achieved and today marks a new beginning for Jikes Youth Centre.”

The steel-framed building should take just six weeks to erect and the club is planning to move into its new home at Easter. It will feature a large hall, separate activity room and upstairs two insulated music rooms and a further activity room.

The committee is now planning to knock on every door in the village to ask what residents would like from their local youth club to make sure it is offering the right range of activities.