£5m youth hut nearly ready

The Hut - on land between kershaw Avenue and Queen's Park Drive, Airedale - is nearly finished.
The Hut - on land between kershaw Avenue and Queen's Park Drive, Airedale - is nearly finished.

A MULTI-MILLION pound youth complex in Airedale – which will include a state-of-the-art cinema, bowling alley and sports hall – is expected to open its doors in June.

Building work on The Hut, which will offer activities and services for young people aged 13 to 19 from across the Five Towns, is ahead of schedule and is due to be unveiled later this year.

The long-awaited project by Wakefield Council and the Chrysalis Youth and Community project – built on land between Kershaw Avenue and Queen’s Park Drive – has been funded by a £5m grant from the previous government’s Myplace initiative.

Original plans for the scheme had included a learning academy, but the plans were axed at the end of 2010 when the Department for Education clawed back £660,000 in funding.

Neil Kennedy, general manager of Chrysalis, said: “The Hut is nearing completion now – in fact it looks like it might be finished three weeks ahead of schedule.

“It’s an exciting time. After the change of government we had doubts over the funding and didn’t know if it would go ahead, but now we’re nearly there.

“Most of the site is now completed and there are just a few external things to finish off and then we’ll be ready to open.”

Activities on offer at the site – which was designed by young people in the town – will include performing arts, film, computer gaming, ten-pin bowling, cookery and sports. Support services on a range of topics such as alcohol, pregnancy and sexual health, social skills and healthy eating will also be provided at the purpose-built facility.

The Myplace project was devised to increase the number of youth facilities and help reduce the number of youngsters not in education, employment or training (NEETs). Coun Pat Garbutt, council cabinet member for children and young people, said: “We have a wonderful opportunity to provide a world class facility for young people in Airedale in partnership with Chrysalis and other service providers.”