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Princess Royal opens new youth centre

04 March 2015

A new flagship building for Jersey's Youth Service will be opened officially today by HRH Princess Anne.

The £2.3 million especially converted heritage site, the new base for the Youth Service, will provide a youth arts project, studios, a radio station and a performance space in the former St James church building.

Youth Service headquarters

The rectory next door is the new home for the Youth Enquiry Service and is now the headquarters for the Youth Service. The complex also includes a former primary school which has been refurbished and is now the home of the Prince’s Trust and Duke of Edinburgh Award schemes.

Principal Youth Officer Mark Capern said “We are very excited about today as this is the culmination of five years’ work from the original idea to today, the opening of this new and fantastic venue for young people. Our youth arts project has expanded considerably over the past 12 months and a very diverse programme is now on offer including music, dance, drama, a radio station, a film school and ukulele club. Also the YES counselling project gets more space and for the first time the Youth Service has a central headquarters. This is an incredible building and will be a dynamic, inspiring base for our activities and event going forward.”

Phenomenal facility

The project was initiated three years ago following calls to save the former town Garrison Church. Deputy Eddie Noel, Assistant Treasury Minister with responsibility for Jersey Property Holdings, was instrumental in progressing the refurbishment.

“I think we’ve almost turned an ugly duckling into a swan. From the scaffold-covered building three years ago, we’ve produced a phenomenal facility for both young people and the wider arts community in a reinvented, unique heritage site. There cannot be many towns this size in the UK that have a comparable facility and it supports the strategic aim of making St Helier a priority,” said Deputy Noel.

ESC Minister Deputy Rod Bryans added “It’s vital we provide our young people with opportunities to express their creativity and expand their horizons. This fantastic building will enable some of our most popular and exciting youth work to expand even further. Great credit must go to the Property Holdings team for bringing this to fruition so quickly and to the Youth Service team, as ever, for their commitment and hard work.”

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