Keys to a new £1.25m youth centre in Portadown were handed over this week.
The state-of-the-art facility in Jervis Street has been funded by the Department of Education with a whopping £40k raised by the YMCA which runs the centre.
Already membership, which only opened last week, has reached more than 100 and this is expected to more than double over the summer months.
With a superb sports hall and fully fitted kitchen on an industrial size, the new centre also has meeting spaces, arts and craft spaces and other rooms which can be screened off or opened up to cater for various events.
The entire centre is disability friendly and has a large outdoor hard landscaped space with a gas fire pit built in and raised planter beds.
It is a far cry from the old building which was initially built in the late 1950s. Although it had served the community well over the past 60 odd years, it had become dilapidated which an inefficient heating system, broken windows, and only one working toilet.
YMCA Regional Director for the greater Craigavon area, Darryn Causby welcomed the ‘fantastic’ investment and the opening of the new centre.
“We are delighted to get into the new building. It has been a long process,” said Mr Causby.
“We are really excited to be able to provide a service to the community and this secures us for a long time to come,” he said, adding that already membership of the YMCA centre has reached 100 plus.
Mr Causby said they have a full summer scheme programme and events taking place this year.
“We are very excited to be able to provide a service to the community,” he said, adding that they are looking forward to the official opening in September.
“It is a great resource with access gates to Millington Primary School,” he said, adding that there will be opportunities for close partnerships with other groups in the community who will be able to use the resource when it is not being used by the YMCA.
“We have a wonderful team of skilled staff working at the centre who are there for the young people in times of crisis and celebration.
“As an organisation, we are really proud of it,” he concluded.