A youth club in Hazlemere has undergone a major refurbishment project to transform it from an unwelcoming, underused eyesore into a thriving community hub.

Since the centre reopened, Andy Rose, Chairman of the Management Committee at Rose Avenue Youth Centre stated that the club is “doing really well”. Local resident Mr Rose runs the centre with his wife Holly and with the help of around 20 volunteers.  The centre had been in slow decline over a number of years, with essential repair work not undertaken, leaving the general atmosphere “like a prison”.  Mr Rose decided to get involved in September 2014 in an effort to turn its furtunes around. “I didn’t even know the centre existed, I never saw the youth centre open until I got involved.”

After spending more than £20,000 since July to install a new roof, windows and doors, a complete repaint and a purpose-built games and computer room as well as the installation of a new security system, Mr Rose says the youth club holds events every Monday and Friday and “is going really well. Youth club nights have a really strong attendance, we have 90 kids up here on a Friday, which is brilliant.  The new roof is completed and the scaffolding has come down, new windows and doors have been installed, we have a new fence at the back and a new garden at the front…the kids will be able to grow and maintain their own vegetables”.

The centre has gone from being open 1 day a week, with at times just 1 child in attendance, “Now we have 50 or 60 per night, it is great for them to have somewhere they can come and let their hair down away from parents but in a safe, secure environment”.

Chairman Andy Rose pictured during installation of the new roof. Picture by ARM Images.

Youth Centre Chairman Andy Rose pictured during installation of the new roof. Picture by ARM Images.

Mr Rose said he is now “massively proud” of the centre. “It’s busy but good fun. There was nothing like this here before so it shows that it was needed in the community…It is so vibrant. It has gone from nothing to this and it’s great.  We have a great group of volunteers who help and we are very lucky to be a part of this community, they have taken us into their hearts. We want the community to know that this building does exist, there is lots going on every day and it’s for everyone, regardless of what age you are.” Mr Rose is now aiming to raise money to fund the replacement of the centre’s Main Hall floor. “The floor in there is the original concrete. It’s not the best floor for young kids so we are looking at getting a sprung floor. We are trying everything to raise money for that now.”

Visit www.make-a-donation.org/charity/hazlemere-youth-centre to make a donation.