YMCA Awarded Places of Change Funding

Tuesday, 1st April, 2008
Leicester YMCA has been awarded £425,000 to help young homeless and disadvantaged people turn their lives around.

The cash, which is part of the Government's Places of Change programme, will be used to refurbish the theatre and bar and develop a training programme based at The Y, Leicester YMCA's theatre. The project will offer young people exciting, real life training in a professional arts environment for jobs such as lighting, stage management, front-of-house and bar work.

The Y plays an important role in the city's culture presenting a multi-art form programme including music, comedy, performance and community activities. In 2006/07 The Y presented 194 events with an audience of 18,524. The theatre, bar and front-of-house areas will undergo a transformation and include new equipment to create an inclusive and inspiring environment for customers and trainees.

Thomas Wildish, Director of The Y, said: "Audiences and artists will really appreciate our remodelled front of house areas and refurbished auditorium and backstage facilities, and I am really excited by the training opportunities that these new facilities will offer. As a venue on the fringe of the Leicester's new cultural quarter this project shows how culture can lead regeneration and make a real difference to a city and its communities."

Leicester YMCA has a strong track record of supporting and empowering young disadvantaged people through housing and education programmes. Leicester YMCA Chief Executive, Paul Brown, added: "Our vision is to ensure that young people who have had difficulties in their lives have a real high-quality home they can be proud of and a place of change that rebuilds their self esteem. The training will give our service users access to real jobs."

The schedule
A colourful new children's area has already been completed to give the holiday play scheme a self-contained unit with a dedicated entrance on Granby Street.

The major work on the bar, reception, theatre and public areas is due for completion by the end of August 2008. At the same time there will be improvements to the meeting rooms and dance studio - all due to have air conditioning fitted. The sports hall and changing facilities will be revamped in September.

The training programme will commence in 2009.

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