Community buzzing over drop-in centre

Tony Crawford (Chair of Trustees at The Leyland Project)'Karen Beech (resident)'Nadine Sumner (resident)'Cllr Mick Titherington'Sian Coulton (Community Investement Officer for New Progress)'Jayne Fletcher (was a community development worker for South Ribble Borough Council but is now retired)

Tony Crawford (Chair of Trustees at The Leyland Project)'Karen Beech (resident)'Nadine Sumner (resident)'Cllr Mick Titherington'Sian Coulton (Community Investement Officer for New Progress)'Jayne Fletcher (was a community development worker for South Ribble Borough Council but is now retired)

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A DERELICT shop on a Leyland estate will be transformed into a new community drop-in centre.

The empty shop next to Bannister Stores on Bannister Drive will become ‘The Buzz Community Centre’ from next month and will host a youth cafe, projects for young people, and various activities for the whole community.

The project has been brought together by The Leyland Project, New Progress Housing, and the Broadfield Residents Association.

Rev Tony Crawford, pastor of Leyland Baptist Church and chair of trustees at The Leyland Project, said the move will benefit the whole community.

He said: “At a time when youth services are being cut it is very encouraging that we can get this sort of thing up and running.

“It is very good news for the whole Broadfield area and as well as the ideas we have fixed already, I hope new activities will also develop over time.”

A disabled advice centre moved out of the shop in 2009 and it has been derelict ever since.

The community centre will employ five part-time staff and will be open from 9am until 9pm from Monday to Saturday.

Rev Crawford said: “This has been in the planning stages for some time but we weren’t able to complete it properly until we got further planning permission.

“We are hoping to open at half-term when we will he holding activities including beauty therapy sessions for two afternoons as well as an outdoor survival and laser tag activity.

“At the moment we are working on getting a new kitchen in, creating a small office room, and putting in new flooring.

“We have also had a couple of young people already involved in the painting and decorating.”

It is also hoped a new ‘Dream Scheme’ group will be set up for eight to 12-year-olds in connection with the Giant Veggie Patch.

Rev Crawford said this would help those who had become ‘disengaged with education’.

The project has been set up with the help of a grant from New Progress Housing.

Bernie Keenan, managing director of New Progress Housing Group, said: “We are delighted to be able to support this worthwhile cause which has seen members of the local community work together to provide a fantastic resource for residents of the Broadfield estate.

“Our Community Investment Panel has granted over £17,000 to help fund this community base and to employ a community development worker who will engage with local residents to build a stronger community.”