Mayor of Ely pressing on with plans for new youth hub but future is unclear for facility

10:56 01 April 2014

Forum, Barton road. Ely.

Forum, Barton road. Ely.

Archant

The mayor of Ely says she is working hard with officials from the county council to create a new youth hub at Centre E, despite fears that the future of the building is unclear.

Centre E, also known as The Forum, in Barton Road, has been a community centre used by dozens of charitable and social groups for decades and it has also served as a youth centre in the past.

In more recent times, part of the building has become home to Ely Foodbank, which hands out essential supplies to people struggling to pay the bills.

Cllr Elaine Griffin-Singh says that there is not enough youth provision in Ely that isn’t linked to religious groups and says she is working on a plan for a new youth service running at the facility.

But she admits that there is talk that the building, owned by Cambridgeshire County Council, is on a list of assets which could be put up for sale.

She said: “There is some discussion that the county council may be looking at disposal of it.

“What I have learned as mayor is that youth provision in Ely tends to be a series of ad-hoc activities and there aren’t many places where young people can just ‘hang out’ like there used to be when I was growing up.

“Frankly I felt ashamed at that situation and, working with the youth forum, we went to an outstanding facility in March which they called a youth hub and that’s the kind of thing that we want to work towards. And Centre E seems to fit the bill.

“We are now working with charity that deals with youth provision and the county council and we are working out how we can take that on and see how we can develop it.”

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire County Council said: “Centre E has not been declared surplus to requirements and therefore is not currently available for sale. However, the council is utilising its property portfolio more effectively, and will review options as they may present themselves.”

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