£10.2m awarded to Barnsley in Levelling Up Fund

We are delighted that £10.2m has been awarded to Barnsley following our successful bid to the government’s Levelling Up Fund.

Our Barnsley Futures bid has been awarded £10.2m to help transform young people’s cultural and well-being facilities in our newly redeveloped town centre.

The investment will include the creation of an activity park next to the town centre’s forthcoming Youth Zone, including a skate park, bike track, new active routes and play spaces. This project will be co-designed and delivered with our young people.

Working with our key partners YMCA Barnsley and ChilyPep, we will also redevelop the complementary Young People’s Wellbeing Hub ‘H.O.M.E.’ based at YMCA to provide fit-for-purpose places for services focused on emotional well-being and resilience including a broad range of mental health and well-being activity.

The bid also includes the creation of a new Northern Academy for Vocal Excellence (NAVE) to deliver outstanding singing tuition to young people. This will also serve as a permanent home to the world-renowned Barnsley Youth Choir. The choir is ranked 5th in the Interkultur World Rankings (the highest ranked choir from Great Britain) and has won eight first prizes in some of the most important international competitions in the world.

The NAVE will bring back into use a prominent building, the council’s former Computer Centre building on the corner of St Mary’s Place and Westgate behind the Town Hall. Built in 1879, it was previously the courthouse for the town until the new court was built in 1970.

There will also be a contribution to the major project to refurbish The Civic cultural centre to secure its future and extend its reach. This will bring into use parts of the building not used for many years so it can work with and attract new audiences, particularly young people under 30, and develop their skills and talents.

Leader of Barnsley Council, Cllr Sir Steve Houghton CBE, 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 already incredibly proud of our fantastic town centre, and this investment gives us a brilliant opportunity to offer even more opportunities and reasons to visit, particularly for our young people.

“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 South Yorkshire Mayor at Elsecar.”

Mat Wright, Artistic Director, 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. 

“We are grateful to colleagues at Barnsley Council who have worked tirelessly to develop a compelling case and a high-quality application which has secured this funding. This will be a landmark building that will have a huge impact on the community that we serve, driving ambition and opportunity. We are excited to get started and work towards an opening date in 2025.”

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 and will go a long way to securing the future of the Young People’s Wellbeing Hub ‘H.O.M.E.’ based at YMCA.

“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 as key deliverers of essential young people-led youth services in Barnsley.”

Anthony Baker, Chief Executive, Barnsley Civic: “We are delighted to hear that Barnsley has been successful in securing funding from the Levelling-Up bid. 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.”

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