Councillor Elaine Griffin-Singh, Ely’s previous Mayor is working closely with a team of other Councillors to open a new facility for the local Youth.
Centre E on Barton Road is being considered in great depth and is a favoured location for the project. The building is currently used by local groups and when asked what would happen to those groups, Cllr Griffin-Singh was confident that the groups would be able to remain using the venue, “They are valuable assets to the project. The Ely Foodbank is at the back of the building and St John’s Ambulance occupies upstairs and these would be great associations to have involved, plus the other groups that currently rent space on an ad hoc basis for other activities. It was also the main Youth Club in Ely some years ago and it’s hoped that those that remember, now have children and grand-children of their own to encourage along.”
The building is currently owned by Cambridgeshire County Council and the new Trust will apply to take over the building under a lease agreement. It has been modernised over the years with many rooms which could be used for training, counselling, chill out activities and even classrooms. But essentially it is the big hall which will be the main “hang-out” arena with activities set up from sports to art, from Xbox competitions to dancing and singing. It will even have meeting rooms and could continue to be offered to the wider community initially to raise funds.
The building is well equipped for IT and Spotted in Ely would love to help develop a full media-suite and be extended upon with an ability to teach our 8-25 youth all about graphic design, videography and photography, Journalism skills and news reading, but with guidance they would control what and how they learn. It is hoped that Spotted in Ely will be able to assist and use some of these resources to better enhance Ely in general.
Although the project is supported by the City Council, the trust set up will be independent from the council and will also be funded under its own means.
It’s a bold ambition of the former Mayor, who chairs the City Council Youth Forum but she hopes that it would become a place where the youth and all youth activity naturally gravitates to.
With all the fun stuff will come the serious issues that need tackling with confidentiality. Youths would be able to come and get advice and counselling for a range of issues from spots to alcohol, drug abuse to sexual advice plus a range of health and mental health issues and will offer specialist group activity. It’s hoped the whole project will also reduce any anti-social behaviour in the city.
The trust partners would help with other day to day issues such as employment, legal matters, housing and benefits.
The aim is not to have this facility open 2 or 3 hours a week, but eventually aspire to a “doors always open” policy to really make use of the great venue with a constant stream of activities and always something to do. Include the youth in running the project and gaining valuable experience that will stay with them for life. Using the activities already in place and creating masses of new ones, Ely will finally have the establishment the local kids deserve.
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