Stowmarket: Call for community to back youth centre, The Mix
The manager of a new £5million youth centre has called for the community to get behind it as it prepares to complete its opening.
Children in Stowmarket can now use the impressive facilities at The Mix, which when finished, will include a recording studio, media suite and performance hall.
Leah Kurta, the centre’s executive manager, gave a presentation at Stowmarket Town Council’s annual town meeting.
She said: “This project came from the community and it’s what we want to take moving forward. We are at a time when we have to work in partnership. I really believe that’s what will help to shape our future. If you’re in the local community and want to bring something to The Mix, please get in touch.”
She described the vision for the centre as a place for youngsters not just to meet and have fun but also to prepare them for their future careers. She said the centre’s aim was to be a hub to use business expertise to improve children’s chances of finding work. The centre also wants to be a “voice” for youngsters, with Miss Kurta saying it would be youth-led from “top to bottom”.
Barry Salmon, a Stowmarket North councillor, said: “It’s quite clear from everyone’s comments that it is a wonderful place for young people in this town and I really do like your manifesto. As a general rule young people are misunderstood and with the best will in the world they are going to make a few mistakes – with this centre they can do that in a place where they are comfortable.”
David Whybrow, a Stowmarket South councillor, said: “It’s clearly an impressive project in terms of what the building can help to deliver and I think the young persons’ involvement is absolutely key in terms of keeping everything fresh.”
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The centre has funding from Suffolk County Council until 2018. A crucial task for the centre’s management is to make it viable in the long-term. Miss Kurta has said a minimum of £250,000 a year would be needed in funds after the grants finish.
Miss Kurta said: “The county council grant does not cover all of the operation and we have quite a steep income target. We are looking at a few different ways of achieving that. We do not want to go back to Suffolk County Council and say it did not work.” The Mix is a registered charity.