Councillors and residents got together on Saturday morning (23 November 2013) to help plan the future of the troubled South Leeds Youth Hub.
“The Youth Hub has been a headache from day one. It hasn’t engaged with local people and we need to start again.”
The Hunslet Club was revealed as the preferred bidder to over the Youth Hub as part of a community asset transfer. They will take over from April 2014 if negotiations are successful.
Dennis Robbins, Chief Executive at the Hunslet Club, talked about the changes he thought needed to be made at the centre. He said he wanted to move the entrance to the other side of the building facing the field and away from local houses. He also wants to close the centre while works are carried out and re-open with a “big bang” full programme of activities.
He stressed that he is very keen to work in partnership with the Council and especially the local community.
“The centre needs greater footfall to succeed. In order to do that you’ve got to put on activities that people want. Children’s activities come first, but you can bring in their parents and grandparents at other times. That’s how families find out about what’s happening. It becomes a virtuous circle.
“The Hunslet club is keen to engage the support of the Leeds business community to make this a centre of excellence and one to be proud of nationally.”
South Leeds Youth Hub was built by Leeds City Council two years ago at a cost of £5m. It is one of 63 centres built in deprived communities around the country as part of the My Place programme. Transferring ownership to the community was always part of the plan, but has been brought forward as the centre has failed to attract numbers of young people in its present form.
South Leeds Youth Hub is located on the site of Merlyn-Rees High School on Middleton Road, Belle Isle. Programmes and activities continue to run at the centre whilst the transfer is being negotiated.