One of Berry Lane’s oldest surviving buildings – and home to Longridge’s youth club for the past 20 years – is to be given a £55,000 facelift.
The news was revealed by County Coun David Smith, of Longridge, who has lobbied for improvement at the youth and community centre and helped to reconcile differences between the owners and lessees, Ribble Valley and Lancashire County councils.
Now the £55,000, a capital amount from the LCC’s young service budget, should see a total modernisation and refurbishment of the centre after the green light was given by the county’s Cabinet Member for Young People, County Coun Mark Perks.
He said: “The building has not received any investment for years and needs completely renovating.
“We have a lot of young people within the county and I was able to encourage the cabinet to allocate £1 million for young people’s service centres, with £55,000 going to Longridge. That’s £50,000 for the refurb and £5,000 for a new alarm system.”
The positive move follows County Coun Smith helping to resolve difficulties over the lease agreement between RVBC and LCC by acting as “broker”.
He explained: “Ribble Valley invested in the building, which it owns, and I have tried since to get some work done to the interior of the building, but in difficult times LCC did not have the available funds.
“In LCC’s budget for 2013/14, however, there was a commitment to invest in youth zone satellites and I asked County Coun Mark Perks to include Longridge in the improvement schemes.
“I, and I am sure many others in Longridge, am extremely grateful to County Coun Perks for his positive response. His allocation of £55k is marvellous, and will make a huge difference for the young people of Longridge and the surrounding area.
“In these difficult financial times, it is to County Coun Perks and LCC’s credit that it is seen to be so important to invest in youth.
“Excellent work is done at the centre by committed staff and volunteers, and this investment is nothing less than they deserve.”
The centre is based in Longridge’s former Second World War fire station. The building dates back to the late 19th century when it was Ellis Wilkinson’s mineral water company. Since the government cuts two years ago and staff changes at the centre, its busy programme has been run by manager Mary Stone.
“This is really excellent news to be putting money into the club,” she said.
“We were on the list for getting some, but were down at the bottom, so it’s quite a surprise.
“Our membership plus volunteers is now at the 80 mark and we have a lively programme through the week and different events coming up.”
It is hoped to start the work in the summer.
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Thursday 20 June 2013
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