Hampshire County Council’s investment in youth services and facilities across the county was highlighted when Council Leader, Councillor Roy Perry, joined young people from Ringwood School, Ringwood Town Council and other funding partners, on-site to mark the start of construction for Ringwood’s new, purpose built youth facility.

The building will be taking shape, next to the skate park, on Carvers Playing Field, over the next 24 weeks at a total cost of £548,000. Hampshire County Council has contributed £400,000 to the project from its ‘Investing in Hampshire Fund’, adding to a £70,000 contribution from New Forest District Council, £75,000 from the Town Council and £5,000 from Ringwood School.

Councillor Perry commented: “This is an excellent example of councils working in partnership to improve services and facilities that are especially of benefit to Hampshire’s young people. I am very pleased that the County Council has been able to contribute to this investment, and I commend the Town Council and Ringwood’s local community for their vision and commitment to put up some of their own funding. I am confident that this will be a well-used and much valued building, with regular activities and sports, as well as access to advice and support on a wide range of issues, such as health, learning, training and employment.”

School student, Sam Whittingham, said: “It will finally be a place for young people to go after years of trying to raise the money for it, and years of having nowhere for young people to go. It will be a good place for people to meet with their friends and have fun and some independence.”

Fellow student, Jade Wardle agreed. She said: “It will be really good because we have waited five years and when it is finished we will be able to come here and talk to our friends instead of using the skate park or sitting under a tree.”

The building will provide a permanent base for youth-based activities and youth workers to include a youth club, as well as charities and voluntary organisations that provide advice and support services for young people. It will also be a meeting place for the Town Council’s Youth Advisers, and can be hired for parties and events.