New lease of life for Redi Centre as Lottery grant comes within reach - The Redditch Standard

New lease of life for Redi Centre as Lottery grant comes within reach

Ross Crawford 12th Jul, 2018   0

A FIVE year dream to transform the Redi Centre has taken a major step closer to reality.

The centre, which is run entirely by volunteers and attracts more than 1,200 people a month, offers everything from youth clubs and IT courses to a Motorcycling Yogi Group – and everything in between.

It’s worth had been recognised by the Big Lottery Reaching Communities Fund, which had awarded a £465,000 grant to totally modernise the Victorian building, installing a lift and ‘gender neutral’ toilets to make all areas fully accessible.

However the Big Lottery also wanted to see the centre with long term ten year lease on the South Street premises.

This was in the gift of the borough council and on Tuesday night its executive committee backed calls for a 12 year lease on the building (allowing two years for the building work) at an agreed rent of £7,000 per annum.

For Ray Groves of Redditch Youth and Community Enterprise (RYCE), which has run the Redi Centre since 2012/13, it’s a dream come true, especially as in the beginning they’d started with just six month and 12 month ‘meanwhile’ leases.

“You go through every scenario and have answers ready for all the questions and instead it sails straight through,” he said.

“It has taken us a long time to get this far and it still has to be approved by full council and the Big Lottery board, but this is fantastic news.”

RYCE is one of only two charitable community benefit societies in Worcestershire – the other runs The Cube in Malvern – and first became involved when cost cutting at Worcestershire County Council led to all four youth clubs in Redditch closing in 2012/13.

“I thought of the Redi Centre and asked for the keys,” said Ray, who has played a vital role at the heart of youth provision in Redditch.

“It was a cold and horrible building, there was buddleia growing everywhere, but I thought to myself we could do everything here for young people.

“I spoke to Councillors Bill Hartnett (Lab, Church Hill) and Greg Chance (Lab, Central) and asked to be given the chance to run the centre and got their backing.”

Further backing came from local MP Rachel Maclean leading to this latest development.

Final approval of the lease is expected at full council on Monday, July 23.

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