Honiton residents and traders are urged to donate to a £325,000 campaign to repair a former youth club for community use.
Honiton Community Spaces has launched the donation drive in a bid to bring back from ‘disrepair’ the Community Use Building, in School Lane, Honiton, in the hope it can host 100s of people each week.
Volunteers keen to see the building fit for the community are calling for donations and urging residents to hold sponsored events and fundraisers, to boost the facelift.
Funds raised will be used for ‘vital upgrades’ – installing a new fire escape and disabled ramps, upgrading and insulating the roof, external walls and windows; modernising the heating and lighting to reduce energy consumption.
In time it is hoped the project can be extended to refurbish the entire building, with new halls, meeting and training rooms, gardens, a woodland area, café, kitchen, plus space for ‘ecological education’ and forest school.
A Community Development Team spokesperson said: “Many people will remember going to the youth club, or being at mother and toddlers.
“Let’s imagine what we can create for our children and grandchildren and families in the community.
“It is great to see people come here to play, to sing, to do crafts in the woods, to help each other and feel that they belong here and enjoy the spaces.
“If we can find the funds, we can make this a lovely, safe and enjoyable space that Honiton can be proud of.”
Councillor Dan Ledger, East Devon District Council (EDDC) portfolio holder for sustainable homes and communities, said: “This building is hugely important and valuable to local residents and community groups.
“I would urge anyone who can donate or fundraise for this amazing asset for the Honiton community to do so.”
He added: “In 2015 when Devon County Council could no longer afford to keep the building going, and were closing all youth clubs, the community development team drove forward the creation of the locally-run Honiton youth club and found a way to keep the building open for all the groups.
“East Devon District Council’s community development team has also supported a number of the users of the Community Ue Building with small grants through its Honiton ‘Dragons’ Den’ programme across the years.
“We are very keen to see this next ambitious stage succeed.”
Cllr Ledger said: “The community development team are also covering the £620 EDDC plan and inspection fees in recognition of the number of tenants that enjoy groups at the Community Use Building.”
The former youth club, just beyond Honiton College and the leisure centre, has been a place for the young and old to gather for social and community events for more than 50 years, said EDDC.
The district council said the ‘vibrant community hub’ was the home of numerous groups which focus on helping local residents on low incomes, supporting those with special needs and hosting mental health support groups.
This includes the 729 Club for teenagers and adults with additional needs and physical limitations, the Open Arms and Honiton Shedders who both give support and friendship to people enduring mental health issues, the Youth Club and [since 1969]mother and toddler support groups.
To donate, call 0786 275 1392, email email@example.com or follow the Honiton Community Spaces Facebook page.