Families and young people can look forward to a state-of-the-art sports and community facility in Daventry after work started on a major £1.7 million project.
The £1.7 million build will transform the Phoenix Youth Centre in Ashby Road, allowing it to offer an even wider range of activities and opportunities for young people in Daventry district for generations to come.
Daventry District Council (DDC) is working with the Phoenix Youth Centre team in order to complete the project, which also has support and funding from Sport England and Landform.
The new-look centre, which is expected to open in spring 2017, will feature an extended gymnastics hall with foam pits and floor-level trampolines, which will also help those with disabilities participate in activities.
The larger area will allow for a wider range of equipment as well as improved audience space for competitions and festivals, while new toilets and changing areas will be fully-accessible to wheelchair users.
The centre will also benefit from a complete renovation and modernisation, with better changing facilities, improved insulation, a new roof for the main hall and more efficient heating and lighting.
Gymnastics activities are taking place off Churchill Way in High March, Daventry while the renovation work takes place.
Built in 1969, the popular centre welcomed 30,000 visits by children and young people in the last year, but with the future expansion of Daventry that is expected to grow to more than 50,000 visits per year by 2021.
Elaine Bedford, president of the centre, said: “The Phoenix Youth Club has been very popular for a number of years. We have lots of different activities going on, but our main focus has always been on gymnastics, so it’s really pleasing to be able to expand the centre to provide better facilities, particularly for people with disabilities.
“We’ve had hundreds of thousands of young people through the doors over the years, and this modernisation and extension will allow us to meet the needs of the growing numbers of young people in Daventry district in future.
“We will spend time during the refurbishment work on expanding and training our team of staff, apprentices and volunteers ready to start offering new and exciting sports and activities for young people once we reopen next spring.
“These are very exciting times for the Phoenix Youth Centre and we are grateful to Sport England, Landform and Daventry District Council for their support and belief throughout this project. It has been a triumph for teamwork.”
Councillor Alan Hills, portfolio holder for community, culture and leisure on Daventry District Council, said: “The Phoenix Youth Centre is one of the best youth centres in the county. This renovation means better facilities for all the young people of Daventry district and we welcome that as a council.”
Sport England is investing £500,000 in the new-look centre. Sport England property director Charles Johnston said: “We know people have a better experience of sport when they have good facilities in which to play. This is why we’re investing in the Phoenix Youth Centre and working with Daventry District Council.
“We want to build new facilities that are more appealing to young people and help them to develop a lifelong sporting habit.”
Between 2012 and 2017, Sport England will invest £45 million of Lottery funding through the Improvement Fund into medium sized projects to improve grassroots sports facilities.