Levelling Up: Barnsley Council wins £10m bid for new activity park, Civic project and home for Youth Choir
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The council submitted two bids, worth £26m, in the second round of funding, but only won one.
The second bid, to transform Elsecar Heritage Centre into a tourist destination, was not awarded any funding.
The funding will be used to build an activity park next to the town centre’s forthcoming Youth Zone, including a skate park, bike track, new active routes and play spaces.
Barnsley’s young people wellbeing hub based at the YMCA will also receive funding to provide services focused on emotional well-being and resilience.
Some of the cash will also be used to create a new Northern Academy for Vocal Excellence in the former Computer Centre building on the corner of St Mary’s Place and Westgate behind the Town Hall.
The academy will provide a new home for the award-winning Barnsley Youth Choir, and provide singing tuition to young people.
Some funding will also be allocated to boost refurbishments at The Civic, bringing into use parts of the building not used for many years.
Councillor Sir Steve Houghton, leader of Barnsley Council, said: “We truly believe it’s time to believe in the possibilities of Barnsley, to look to the future with excitement and optimism, so we’re very pleased that the government has listened to our call for Levelling Up investment in Barnsley.
“We’re using this funding to improve the educational, well-being and health outcomes of Barnsley’s young people, and to improve cultural engagement for everyone through making further improvements to The Civic. That’s because Barnsley’s a place that fosters and grows ambition, enabling everyone to be the best they can be.
“We’re of course disappointed that our £16m bid to further develop Elsecar Heritage Centre into a national tourist destination was unsuccessful on this occasion.
“However, we remain committed to our vision for Elsecar, and we look forward to working with government and other agencies on how we can secure funding to make it a reality. We will be inviting the Secretary of State Michael Gove to meet with ourselves and the South Yorkshire Mayor at Elsecar.”
Mat Wright, artistic director of Barnsley Youth Choir, said: “We are thrilled to receive this significant funding which will not only provide a base for Barnsley Youth Choir, but will become a regional and national centre of excellence, supporting the very highest levels of singing.
“We will be working with some of the greatest international experts, and it is going to be a space for people of all ages to learn and train with the very best in the world.
Andrea Battye, youth work manager at YMCA Barnsley, and Lesley Pollard, managing director of Chilypep, said: “This funding will enable YMCA Barnsley and Chilypep to continue to provide a safe, welcoming and inclusive space for children and young people in Barnsley.
“The improvements will help to enhance the look of the building, upgrade our facilities, reduce our environmental impact and running costs and contribute to ensuring our future sustainability.”
Anthony Baker, chief executive at Barnsley Civic, added: “This investment will help Barnsley Civic achieve our ambition to provide high quality, relevant and resonant cultural and creative experiences that the people of Barnsley deserve.”