3 March 2005
Young people, children and families in Netherfield, Nottinghamshire will benefit from two new community centres that were opened by Alan Milburn, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster earlier today.
Developed by the Netherfield Forum and part funded by the Government, the new facilities offer a range of important community health, welfare and after-school activity services.
In the first part of his visit to the region, Alan Milburn met children and families already enjoying the facilities of the St George’s Centre which offers crèche facilities, health and employment advice and wider support services for local children and families, all under one roof. The Government has invested over £23,000 in this project through the Government’s Sure Start programme – which offers support to children in disadvantaged areas.
Mr Milburn also opened a new youth centre offering a range of facilities to young people aged 8 to16 in the area. Located in a former Methodist church, the Loco Youth Project was recently refurbished and young people already using the facilities were able to show the Minister their new drop-in coffee bar, IT suite with computer games and Internet access, two activity rooms and a poolroom.
Alan Milburn said:
‘I am delighted to see how the Government’s commitment and investment in Britain’s communities is benefiting the people of Netherfield. Centres like the St George’s Centre and the Loco Youth Project ensure people of all ages and from all backgrounds have access to support, facilities and opportunities. The St George’s Centre provides vital services to local families - giving children the best start in life and helping parents balance their work and family commitments.
‘Support for young people and children is vital for opening up opportunities and that’s why we are investing in youth centres like the Loco Youth Project. Centres like these engage their interests so that they can meet friends, feel part of their own community and gain access to services in a safe and encouraging environment.’
The Loco Youth Project has more than 100 members aged 8 to16 who use the centre Monday and Wednesday evenings and during the afternoons in the school holidays. The Centre will soon be opening every weekday evening.
For teenagers, the Project also holds an IT club for 13- to 16-year-olds and daily Entry to Employment life skills courses, where 16- to 19-year-olds improve their maths, English and IT skills and participate in practical activities and exercises that can help them gain entry in to employment. The project received a total of £21,000 government funding, which included £15,000 Home Office funding through the Gedling Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership under Building Safer Communities to create a cafe-bar and £6,000 from the Local Strategic Partnership for drugs outreach work.
Nina Mills, Centre Manager for the Loco Project said:
“The whole aim of the Loco Youth Centre was to give the kids somewhere to go after school and feel safe. We now have regulars who feel proud of the centre and what it is achieving. All the children love coming and there is a sociable and relaxed atmosphere where kids can learn and have fun at the same time.”
Mother of one Mrs Julie Schofield uses the St George’s Centre for her three-year-old son. She said:
“This Centre is brilliant; it caters for all our needs. I am even doing a crafts course while my son is in the crèche and I know is being well looked after. It is free of charge and that makes it a reality for us to use the facilities. It is also a chance for me to meet people in my community that I would not otherwise get to speak to.”
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