THE RIBBON was cut last week to officially mark the opening of hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of work at a youth and community centre in Seaford.
Former British paralympian Kristina Veasey was on hand to carry out the formal opening of the Mercread Centre.
The project was funded by East Sussex County Council to replace and improve youth facilities in the town.
Kristina, a member of the British women’s basketball team in the Paralympics of 2000 and 2004, was joined for the opening celebration by representatives from the county council, the centre’s management committee and people who have worked for Seaford’s young people over many years.
Councillor Nick Bennett, the county council’s Lead Member for Learning and School Effectiveness, said, “I’m delighted we have been able to work so closely with the National Association of Clubs for Young People and its management committee to bring this exciting project to fruition.
“We have been able to provide significantly improved facilities at Mercread that can be used and enjoyed by young people for many years to come.
“This has been an extremely complex project for a number of reasons, and it has taken longer than I hoped it would, but I think the results have been worth waiting for.”
The centre in Mercread Road offers youth work sessions provided by the county council’s Targeted Youth Support Service, a broad range of activities for three to 19-year-olds, and facilities for other community groups.
In a complex capital project the centre was allocated a £775,000 budget for a major building upgrade by the county council.
It now boasts a new multi-purpose hall suitable for sports activities, a social area including coffee bar and snug, a large accessible demonstration kitchen, small meeting room, and self contained large area ideal for hiring out for children’s parties and meetings.
Roger Daw, chair of the centre’s management committee, added, “This is so exciting, a unique opportunity for us to engage with all the young people of Seaford and with the community to listen to their needs and offer a really interesting range of activities.
“In the current climate there will be economic challenges but we look forward to facing these and providing something special.”
The building is owned by the National Association of Clubs for Young People, but managed locally through a management committee.
The land it is on is owned by Lewes District Council and leased to the committee.
The county council has entered into an agreement with the management committee to be able to provide youth services from the building.
As well as welcoming the significant improvements to the youth facilities at the centre, the management committee is particularly keen to use the building to create stronger links between older and young people in the area.
Friday’s ceremony marked the official launch of the centre but activities are already underway for the young people of Seaford and surrounding areas.