Diags from the hit TV show joined residents for the opening on The Central
A long-awaited facility dedicated to young people in the area has officially opened.
Members of the public attended the official ribbon cutting of The Central above the shops in Rosebank Parade, Yateley.
Teenagers rushed down to the site for a chance to meet reality television star James Bennewith, also known as Diags from TV’s The Only Way Is Essex, as he launched the youth club.
As a result of efforts from residents and traders to revamp the building, the old fashioned drop-in youth centre opened with a pool table, table tennis and tuck shop.
At the launch on September 9 members of Fruition Youth explained to families what the facility would offer and about their future plans, plus there was a tour of the new purpose-built youth and community hub.
Fruition Youth, a not-for-profit provider of services for young people is the brainchild of Nick Glover and Andy Binnersly, two youth workers who have been delivering services for young people in the area for several years.
Mr Glover said: “When we first started working in Yateley with other youth organisations such as EDYACT, it became apparent that what the area really needed was a central location that youth services could be delivered from for the young people across Yateley and Blackwater.
“The Central will fulfil that need and we are delighted that EDYACT have joined us to realise our ambition.”
Mr Binnersly, who has been particularly hands-on in renovating the building, said: “Lots of people have helped us get to this stage, in particular we would like to thank June Bing, the Hampshire County Council community facilitator and Sarah Franklin in her role as youth development worker for Yateley Town Council.”
Fruition Youth started searching for a property for a youth hub between Frogmore and Yateley schools early last year. Around £25,000 was raised to refit and lease the building for two years.
As well as activities, the youth club will offer young parents groups, sexual health advice, career guidance, housing support and music lessons.
An open day has also been held for other groups and private enterprise that might be keen to rent space in the new refurbished building.