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Youth centre could be given new lease of life with management overhaul

PUBLISHED: 17:00 20 August 2019 | UPDATED: 09:24 21 August 2019

The Watton Community and youth centre on Harvey Lane, Watton. 
Picture: Angela Sharpe

The Watton Community and youth centre on Harvey Lane, Watton. Picture: Angela Sharpe

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An underused youth centre in Norfolk could be given a new lease of life as a town council looks to handover management to a charity.

Claire Boothby-Barnbrook, operations manager from The Benjamin Foundation. Picture: The Benjamin FoundationClaire Boothby-Barnbrook, operations manager from The Benjamin Foundation. Picture: The Benjamin Foundation

Watton Town Council has been working with The Benjamin Foundation to take over the Youth and Community Centre currently run by The Charlotte Harvey Trust, in Harvey Street.

The Benjamin Foundation, based in Norwich, wants to create a sustainable, long term plan for the centre by working with the Children's Centre, at St Mary's Church, and Project Rainbow, who are helping to shape the strategy for what activities take place at the centre.

The aim is to create a community hub where young people will be able to take part in activities and groups as well as holding parent groups throughout the day.

Claire Boothby-Barnbrook, operations manager for youth services for The Benjamin Foundation, said: "As we celebrate our 25th anniversary, we are looking to build on our youth work services and Watton has a wonderful asset in the Youth and Community Centre, which is currently underused.

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"While we plan to prioritise activities for under 5's, young people and those who are socially isolated, we very much want to see the centre as a hub for everyone in Watton, all are welcome to visit the centre and get involved."

The plans are being created alongside the recruitment of a Families Matter Keyworker for the town, who would deliver activities for under five's and support families to access support and advice services.

Watton Town Council are in the early stages of handing over management and at the last town council meeting on Tuesday, August 13, started the process of gathering legal advice on the handover.

The hall currently hosts a limited number of events but a martial arts group holds regular classes there. It is not known when the foundation will take over the centre but it hopes to create a full schedule.

The Benjamin Foundation is calling for families to support the initiative and find out more about what can be hosted at the centre.

For more information go to benjaminfoundation.co.uk

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