The money will go to Minehead EYE Community Interest Company, which successfully bid to the Government’s myplace programme.
It will be used to create the Minehead EYE facility on land beside the West Somerset Railway Station.
The youth centre and skatepark will be aimed at 13 to 19-year-olds and will feature a café, shop, and computer area with a viewing gallery overlooking a 6,000 sq ft, two-storey skate and BMX park.
It will also boast a recording studio and DJ booth, a multi-media suite with rehearsal space, and an exhibition area with an art-graffiti wall.
The myplace programme is funded by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and is delivered by the Big Lottery Fund (BIG).
Minehead EYE was one of 21 projects awarded funding to create world-class projects across England which work to create safe places for young people to go, where they can become involved in a wide range of exciting activities and receive information and advice from people they trust.
Minehead EYE, like all of the projects funded through myplace, has actively involved young people in its design and development, and will continue to involve them in future running.
The Minehead facility will enable young people to take part in a wide range of activities such as skate school and skating competitions, music and DJ training, battle of the band events, and console competitions.
Skills and training activities will also be offered by local organisations, including Active Exmoor, as well as local artists and musicians.
CLOWNS (Creating Learning Opportunities in Western Somerset), one of the project’s partner organisations, will be based on the ground floor alongside a number of support services such as youth workers from Somerset County Council and the local primary care trust, who will be on hand to offer young people advice and guidance.
Other partners in the project are West Somerset Council, which has promised £250,000 to the EYE, and Somerset County Council.
Minehead EYE director Naomi Griffith said: “We are absolutely thrilled we have been successful in our bid.
“Many, many people have worked for years on Minehead EYE and it is amazing that we will now see this dream become a reality.
“There is a lot of work ahead of us but we are ready and raring to get started so we can finally deliver this project which is vital for the young people of West Somerset.”
The Children and Young People’s Secretary, Ed Balls, said: “The vast majority of young people are good citizens, play by the rules and just want better things to do and places to go after school and at the weekend rather than hanging around in the street or in the local park.
“They enjoy getting involved in exciting projects such as myplace, so I hope that this scheme will help change the way communities view our young people.
“Myplace will transform positive activities for young people who will be able to decide what kind of facilities they want, and when they want them, such as on Friday and Saturday nights.
“In the Children’s Plan we said we want all young people to have the best opportunities whatever their circumstances and myplace will give young people across the country a chance to enjoy new experiences, learn new skills, and become a valued member of their own community.”
Big Lottery Fund regional head Mark Cotton said: “This facility is really going to transform what is on offer for young people in the area, giving them a safe and inviting place where they can have fun and socialise with friends and also access information and advice.”
Driven by the active participation of young people, myplace is part of the Government’s Aiming High strategy.
The 10-year youth strategy was announced in July of last year to help young people, particularly those in deprived areas, take part in positive activities which will help them develop new skills and raise their aspirations.
- Our photograph shows an artist’s impression of the Minehead EYE youth centre and skatepark. Image submitted.