RICHARD BIRD

...putting people before party

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Teenagers go underground at Hunny

28th February 2008 - the following article is reproduced by kind permission of Lynn News

A BOOST for youth is going great guns in Hunstanton with an appeal to raise funds for a new facility going from strength to strength.

The Basement for Youth Appeal, the Mayor Richard Bird's appeal for 2007/2008, aims to convert a disused basement under the town hall on The Green into a multi-purpose area for young people to undertake a range of activities.

"Basically, we haven't been all that good to the younger population of the district for a long while," said Mr Bird, adding the project was under the council's control and the council could "get on with it".

He said the basement area – which had been closed for around 14 to 15 years – was huge, having been used for a youth club and as a bingo and social club in the past.

As the idea of transforming the space for today's youth came to light, a structural survey was carried out and traces of asbestos removed.

"We now have a huge and cavernous open space of around 2,000 square feet," said Mr Bird, adding a retired architect was working with the appeal to help bring the project to fruition.

Plans are afoot to put in a kitchen and toilets in the basement, which already has a stage.

In all, more than 30,000 is thought to be needed for the project, which it is hoped will include such facilities as table tennis, and pool, as well as an area for music to be recorded.

Among fundraising events already held are a concert, a fish-and-chip supper, a pantomine and a car boot sale at the weekend.

Hunstanton's youth council has also been busy raising funds, Mr Bird said, adding Hunstanton Lions had also given their weight to the project, by raising money and providing labour.

It is also hoped to gain various grants including from perhaps the National Lottery or Prince's Trust.

Mr Bird was keen to stress that the revamped basement – which would be "warm, safe and dry" – could also be used by other groups, not just young people.

If all goes well, it is hoped it will be ready for preliminary use by Christmas.

"It is a great area to bring back into use," said Mr Bird, who has been pleased for all the support received from local people and councillors.

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