New youth club could be built using £1m fund

Father Bob White looks over details of a new initiative aimed at improving the local area for residents in Fratton during an exhibition held at St Marys Church. With him are (left to right), Glynis Robinson of St Monicas House, and Sophia Sham of the Fratton Big Local project. Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (123236-1)

Father Bob White looks over details of a new initiative aimed at improving the local area for residents in Fratton during an exhibition held at St Marys Church. With him are (left to right), Glynis Robinson of St Monicas House, and Sophia Sham of the Fratton Big Local project. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (123236-1)

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NEIGHBOURS who have £1m to spend have suggested some of the cash could be used for setting up a youth club and cafe run by teenagers.

That’s just one of a number of ideas that could become a reality under a new initiative which is pumping £1m into the Fratton area of Portsmouth over the next 10 years.

As previously reported, the lottery grant has been made available by the Local Trust, which is part of The National Lottery, under a project it has set up called Fratton Big Local.

Fratton is one of 150 communities in the country that has been given the cash.

Residents got the chance to have their thoughts on how they would like to see the money being spent at a public consultation in St Mary’s Church.

The church handed out surveys and community groups showed up to give their support.

Fratton resident Valerie Thorne, who is chairman of Fratton Community Association, said: ‘I want the money to be used to help improve what is on offer for young people here.

‘My dream is to see Fratton get a coffee shop and a youth club run by teenagers, with the help of some adults.

‘I want young people to go somewhere which is alcohol-free and has a snooker table and video games for them to play.’

The boost for Fratton comes after a report by The Local Data Company revealed Fratton Road has the third highest number of empty shops in the UK.

As previously reported, only Margate, with a shop vacancy rate of 36.5 per cent, and Dudley with 32.4 per cent, are worse.

A £500 slice of the money has already been given to Southsea Greenhouse so it can grow fruit and vegetables in green spaces.

An extra £500 has been handed to Read and Grow, a scheme which wants to improve adult literacy skills.

Surveys will be analysed and officials for Fratton Big Local will decide if planning applications need to be sent to Portsmouth City Council.

Sophia Sham, 29, an administrator for Fratton Big Local, said: ‘The response from people so far has been very good.

‘A lot of people say they want the money being spent on improving the look of Fratton, opportunities for volunteers and activities for young people.’

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