Volunteers work to open empty centre

By Harriet Ernstsons Thursday 20 March 2014 Updated: 21/03 15:53

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Buy photos » Margaret Groves, Coun Rebecca Blake, Ciara Welborne, Ray Groves, Dot Trow and Stephen Rafferty celebrate RYCE taking on the Redi Centre. Picture by Marcus Mingins 1214018MMR

AN EMPTY centre is set to be brought to life after four years thanks to a community group.

Redditch Youth and Community Enterprise (RYCE) signed a six-month lease on the disused Redi Centre on Monday (March 17) with volunteers working to open it up next week.

The site, which was closed in 2010 and is owned by Redditch Borough Council, will be used to host some of the activities which took place at the nearby Youth House, closed in 2012 by Worcestershire County Council.

RYCE had initially bid to take on the Youth House but had their offers rejected, following which they turned to the borough council to see if they could use the Redi Centre instead.

If there is enough usage of the site on South Street over the next six months, RYCE will then look into the possibility of purchasing the Redi Centre when it goes up for sale.

Chairman Ray Groves said he wished to thank the borough council for their support especially councillors Rebecca Blake, Greg Chance and Brandon Clayton, as well as the volunteers who had been helping them including young people from the community.

"It's the beginning and we hope it will lead to us purchasing the building," he said.

"We are currently moving stuff from the Youth House and putting everything in the right place in the hope we will be ready by Monday next week."

He added they would be having an open day in May with attractions including a bouncy castle and bucking bronco as well as flowers provided by Where Next so residents and groups could have a look around the building.

Coun Blake, who organised the initial meeting two years ago in an attempt to save the Youth House, said she was 'over the moon' to see the centre re-opened.

"Full credit to RYCE, the people from the community who have come together with the common aim of providing facilities for young people and who have worked so hard to make it a reality. While I'm bitterly disappointed Worcestershire County Council would not sell Youth House to RYCE, I'm so pleased the group did not give up and approached Redditch Borough Council about leasing the Redi Centre," she said.

"If there is one thing I hate to see, it's buildings lying empty that could be used and I'm looking forward to seeing the Redi once again buzzing with activity."

Anyone interesting in using the Redi Centre should call Ray Groves on 07977 584297.

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