Still The Place to be after 20 years

Winning team: Staff at The Place Community Centre, Royal Avenue, Leyland, celebrate 20 years of The Leyland Project. They are, from left, Chair of Trustees Tony Crawford, Family Support Worker, Carole Schultz, Finance Officer Maggie Pye and Youth Community Worker Maggie Cole

Winning team: Staff at The Place Community Centre, Royal Avenue, Leyland, celebrate 20 years of The Leyland Project. They are, from left, Chair of Trustees Tony Crawford, Family Support Worker, Carole Schultz, Finance Officer Maggie Pye and Youth Community Worker Maggie Cole

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A community project which has helped move a deprived area of Leyland further down the police’s priority list is celebrating 20 years of good work.

The Leyland Project started in Wade Hall back in 1992 when an empty shop unit was turned into a base for volunteers to offer friendly advice to children, teens and parents.

It became known as The Place on Royal Avenue, and held activities for families such as toddler groups, time-out sessions, coffee drop-ins, forum meetings and school holiday sports and activity programmes.

Chairman of Trustees Tony Crawford, who is the pastor of the Baptist Church in Leyland, said: “We still run similar events today because it’s all been so successful.

“We also have a Friday Community Lunch to bring people together, and anyone is welcome to come along.

“Because the project is based in a social housing area, it tends to attract residents from the most at-risk groups, such as people with mental or health problems.

“They really welcome the work we do, and there is a real sense of wanting to have greater aspirations in life for some of the people we see.

“We’re working on a new scheme at the moment to help people develop practical skills such as cooking, and teaching about Internet safety.”

The Leyland Project started life in connection with the Baptist Church, in response to needs of the community, and funding comes from New Progress Housing Association and causes such as Children in Need.

The Place has since developed into a purpose-built community centre, and in 1999, a house was transformed into a family centre called Springfields.

In January this year, The Base on Broadfield Drive opened its doors, offering similar functions to The Place.

Tony said: “The Leyland Project, along with our sister charity SLEAP which houses young people with host families, have been established for 20 years now, so we have good relationships within the local community.

“It’s all about being available for people to come and find a friendly face who wants to help.

“I feel we have made a positive influence in the area, and are helping to create a better environment for people to live.”

He added: “Wade Hall has always been a ‘red light’ police priority area on the national housing database, but in 2010, it moved into the ‘amber’ category, and we really hope we can continue to improve that.”

The 20th anniversary celebration takes place at the Civic Centre on West Paddock tomorrow (Thursday).

Call the team at The Place on 01772 436200 for more information about the charity and the work which is done there.