youth centre WINS funding

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THE Government this week con firmed funding for the £4.75 million youth project The Mix, ending months of speculation about its future.

The multi-purpose youth facility in Stowmarket has had official confirmation from the Department for Education that work can go ahead.

The announcement crushed speculation that Government cuts would leave the project without funding. The Mix is expected to open late in 2012.

It initially secured the financial backing from the national myplace programme with a grant from the Big Lottery Fund.

Planning was approved in September, but building work was put on hold following a Government decision to review all capital spending projects.

The state of the art facility will be built in Ipswich Street, opposite the Regal Theatre.

The Mix aims to provide a safe environment for young people aged between 13 and 19.

Young people from the town have been involved in designing the building and choosing what facilities will be available. Preparation involving them has continued despite the concern over funding so that work could begin as soon as possible when the money was in place.

Cllr Graham Newman, the county council’s portfolio holder for children, schools and young people’s services, said: “To be able to move ahead with this important scheme is fantastic news.

“We need to be able to offer young people access to advice and services, as well as somewhere to socialise with other young people in a safe environment.

“The Mix will provide this.”

The centre will include a housing unit to provide short-term emergency accommodation and will also provide access to specialist support staff.

A range of facilities will be available, including recording studios, art studios, exhibition spaces, computer suites and editing suites, and a dance hall, so young people can take part in recreational activities in a safe and welcoming environment.

The centre will be run as an independent local trust with young people and adult volunteers taking responsibility for how it is run.