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New youth hub to open in Stratford as part of £100,000 drive to support young people

A NEW youth hub and charity is being set up in Stratford as part of an initiative to provide long-term support and activities for the district’s young people.

Five organisations have worked together with Stratford Town Trust to create the Stratford Youth Collective, backed with £100,000 of funding from the trust.

The new charity, which will be run partly by young people as trustees, will be based in the Grade II-listed building formerly known as The Ministry on Birmingham Road, two doors along from the Shakespeare Street junction.

The centre, which will be fully open from September, will also become Stratford Youth Hub, home to professional youth-focused initiatives, programmes, and services as well as youth clubs where young people can take part in activities, work experience and training.

The new youth hub will be in Birmingham Road, Stratford.
The new youth hub will be in Birmingham Road, Stratford.

The building, which has an initial 15-year lease agreed with the landlord and agent, Peter Clarke, will also be available for other youth-focused and community organisations to hire.

The new charity was created through a partnership between Escape Arts, Lifespace Trust, New Meaning Learning, ILEAP, and Warwickshire Pride. Not only will it see the five groups share their expertise, it will also allow for a more effective allocation of resources.

The creation of the charity builds on the success of the Stratford Youth project, led by Escape Arts and Lifespace Trust, which saw a temporary youth hub in Bell Court as well as activities at the Ken Kennet Centre.

Karen Williams, CEO of Escape Arts, who has been a driving force for the project, said: “One of the pivotal things about the Stratford Youth Collective is the engagement it fosters with young people.

“We have a steering group of young people, called Stratford Youth Together, who are decision makers on all aspects of the new charity. As well as this, up to 50 per cent of the charity’s trustee board will be made up of young people aged 16-25. Ensuring that this organisation is run in the interest of young people, by young people, with the support of experienced professionals.”

James McHugh, from Stratford Town Trust, added: “This project has, so far, been a success.

“The five member organisations have worked together to develop and deliver programmes and services that have benefited young people in Stratford.

“We’re pleased with the progress and learning that is being generated and the trust is committed to continuing to work with the Youth Collective to improve the lives of young people in Stratford. The direction we are heading in together is truly exciting.”

The five groups worked with Rob Langley-Swain, from Purpose and Action Ltd, to help create the charity and hub.

He said: “Not only are we securing the future of universal support for all young people in Stratford, but we’re also creating this fantastic youth hub in the heart of the town, which will be an incredible venue for other organisations to utilise.

“This is a very clear and bold statement to all young people in Stratford – that this is your space and your organisation, here to support and serve your needs.”

Any groups, businesses, schools or residents wishing to get involved or help with fundraising can get in contact via the website, https://stratfordyouth.org.

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