On Tuesday 8 October, Solihull Council received the keys to a new youth and community facility in Dickens Heath.
The impressive construction has been completed by Wernick Buildings and their Contracts Manager, Charlie Miles, showed Councillor Ken Hawkins, Cabinet Member for Environment & Highways, around the new building before handing the keys over.
Councillor Hawkins said: “I am thrilled to finally have the keys to this fantastic new facility, which will open up so many great opportunities for the local community.
“We’ve done a lot of engagement work with young people living in the area as well as other community groups to find out what they need in terms of a facility, and I’m delighted we are now in a position to soon be opening the doors to them.”
Charlie added: "It has been an honour and privilege to work on this development. The programme ran smoothly and everyone was very accommodating throughout."
While Dickens Heath is home to various clubs for young children, it became apparent that there was not a venue for those aged 13-17 to meet up and socialise, which was safe, secure and welcoming.
Since 2004 various funding streams have been made available through the Section 106 planning funding process to enable improvements to Dickens Heath. This has included contributions from developers for the delivery of provisions for young people.
The new facility will give young people a large indoor space which they can use for playing games as well as chilling out. There will also be a learning hub, kitchen facilities and an outdoor canopy so that the facility can be used throughout the year both by young people, the school and other community groups.
The next stage of this project is for the building’s interior to be finished, which the Council’s Love Solihull team will be progressing. Engagement has taken place which involved asking local young people for ideas regarding the design and colour schemes.
Councillor Hawkins added: “We are really keen to make sure that the people who will be using this facility have a sense of ownership of it. The teenagers had lots of creative ideas about what they wanted so we’re using this opportunity to allow them to put their mark on it.”
Details about when the Dickens Heath community facility will be open for use will be available soon.