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Council approves investment in new youth service
Friday 31st August, 2012

Thousands of young people from across Wigan Borough are set to benefit from a new service in the heart of Wigan.

Wigan Council’s Cabinet agreed on Thursday 30th August to grant a 125 year lease of the former Drumcroon building to Wigan Boys and Girls Club Ltd. Granting the lease to the club at a peppercorn rate will provide a state of the art facility with a value of £1.5 million.

The new ‘Junior Youth Zone’ will provide activities for children aged eight to 11 at evenings and weekends. The new facility will complement the existing Youth Zone adjacent to the site. In addition, the club plans to involve an existing charity “Hop, Skip and Jump” to provide a centre for young people with special educational needs during those hours when the centre is not being operated as the Junior Youth Zone.

Cllr Susan Loudon, Portfolio Holder for Children and Young People said:
“This is a unique opportunity and a prime example of Wigan Council’s commitment to young people. We could have sold the building for around £225,000. However the long term benefits of providing this service to children across the borough far outweigh the need to bring in that capital receipt.

"We are delighted to support this venture, which will undoubtedly enrich the lives of thousands of children.”

Martin Ainscough from Wigan Boys and Girls Club Ltd said:
“I'm thrilled that the council has agreed to transfer the building to the Wigan Boys and Girls Club charity, as are Bill Ainscough and Dave Whelan. It's testimony to the council's commitment of ensuring brand new facilities are provided for young people in the borough.

"This will now give us the opportunity to provide a facility specifically for children with special needs and respite care for parents in conjunciton with the charity 'Hop, Skip and Jump'.

"Subject to planning, our intention is to build a £1.5m extension to the building, providing facilities for a junior youth zone for eight to11 year olds. Unlike many youth zones in other towns which are only open 5 nights a week, our plan is to open the main building 7 nights a week to a senior youth market for those up to the age of 19.

"It's very exciting news and we're keen to get cracking because there's lots of hard work to do between now and mid- to late-2013 when we hope the facility will be open."

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