A state-of-the-art sports, performing arts and leisure centre has opened its doors to the young people of Banbury. The £2m centre was handed over to Oxfordshire County Council by main contractors Stepnell in September and is set to become a central feature in the area.
The New Futures Centre features a performance hall with a stage, music recording studios, an art room and work shop, youth fitness suite and a cafe-style relaxing area. In addition the centre features an outside all-weather court that can be used for sports such as football, basketball, netball and tennis. The new centre will offer youth services alongside other services for young people such as careers advice and work with youngsters not in education, employment or training (Neets). There will also be work with young people on issues such as teenage pregnancy, anti-social behaviour, absence from school and substance misuse.
The new building has incorporated several eco-friendly features, including low carbon design technologies, solar panels and low energy fittings to keep running costs down. Approximately 50 young people took part in a consultation to discuss the features of the new centre, which has been funded by the Government’s Co-location Fund.
Anthony Sayles, Area Manager for the Integrated Youth Support Service, said: “Designed with young people and for young people we hope that this facility will go on to provide the kind of space and support that young people want. It’s a fantastic opportunity for the Banbury Community and most importantly children and young people.”
Councillor Louise Chapman, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families, said: “This will be a fabulous facility for Banbury and a real gem. It is living proof of the county council’s continued support for services for young people and I look forward to the people of the town feeling the benefits of this brand new facility. I am sure it will become a real focal point for young people in the town.”
The New Futures Centre is located inHilton Roadon the site of the former Banbury Youth Centre. The previous centre was considerably smaller and unable to house the full range of sporting, performance, music and art facilities offered by the New Futures Centre. Banbury area youth worker, Mike Beal, applauded the new build. He said: “It’s long overdue. There has not been any area outside before where we could run sports activities. This new building will encourage more young people in Banbury to make use of the great services on offer.”
Stepnell managing director, Mark Wakeford, said: “This is a superb facility for young people in the Banbury area and we are proud to have helped create it. Our team worked hard to deliver the building on time and to a very high standard. They rose brilliantly to the challenge posed by last winter’s severe weather, successfully completing the building on schedule thanks to the close working partnership between the Stepnall team; their client, Oxfordshire County Council; and consultants Oxford Architects, SBG, Northcroft and Scott White & Hookins.”
Stepnell Ltd is a family-owned full service construction and civil engineering business that has been trading since the 1870s. With its head office in Rugby, Warwickshire, and regional offices in Kidderminster, Worcestershire; Grantham,Lincolnshire; Wantage, Oxfordshire and Poole,Dorset, the company works across the education, health, residential, industrial, commercial, retail, crematoria, defence, security and emergency services sectors.