A development agreement has been signed between St. Modwen and Birmingham City Council for a new £5 million youth centre, which will be built at the heart of the Longbridge regeneration project.

The ‘myplace’ centre will provide a wide range of innovative and much-needed services to 13 -19 year olds in the Longbridge area. Planning permission was received earlier this year and construction work is due to commence this summer to enable the centre to open its doors in summer 2012.The building has been designed to meet a BREEAM ‘Very Good’ rating.

The development of the centre has been made possible through a council-secured grant from the Government’s myplace programme; a Big Lottery Fund scheme to invest in state-of-the-art facilities for young people across the UK. Located off Longbridge Lane, the new youth centre will address the lack of dedicated facilities for young people in the area. The location of the site was selected for its proximity to the new £66 million Bournville College campus, Longbridge rail station and new Longbridge town centre site, maximising its accessibility.

Mike Murray, senior development surveyor for St. Modwen, said: “It is excellent news that funding and planning permission are now in place for the new Longbridge youth centre. The facility will play an important part in the long-term social, cultural and economic improvement of the area, as there is currently no statutory youth provision. Providing a safe and welcoming environment, the centre will give young people the opportunity to participate in a range of activities and enterprise programmes, with the space to socialise and enjoy new learning experiences in preparation for their future. In turn, it is envisaged that this will have a positive impact on the ongoing growth and future prosperity of Longbridge.”

Councillor Les Lawrence, cabinet member for children, young people and families for Birmingham City Council, said: “This is a very exciting project and I am delighted that the deal with St. Modwen has been signed. The young people who will be using the centre have been fully involved in its design and development. This is a fantastic opportunity for those living in the south-west of the city and an important cornerstone of regeneration drives for the Longbridge area. We have had a very successful partnership with St. Modwen to deliver a facility that I am sure will set the standard for youth centres.”

The building will feature multi-functional rooms, performing arts space, sports hall and conference rooms. It will also include an ICT suite, music and media centre, workshop area, outdoor multi-use games area, café and garden. The facilities will support a range of sporting activities, creative and performing arts, active citizenship and volunteering, youth business, social enterprise, guidance counselling (such as health services), education, training and career advice. Based in the centre there will be a team of professionally qualified Youth Workers who will deliver the range of services to young people. The voluntary sector will be key partners in the delivery of the services. The partners currently include Catch 22, Birmingham YMCA, Worth Unlimited, West Midlands Police and Birmingham Federation of Clubs for Young People.

The myplace centre funding was achieved by Birmingham City Council Youth Service, which has created a Young People’s Forum to ensure young people’s views have been central to the development of the new youth centre. The Forum has brought together representatives from local schools and was created to progress the design plans and engender a sense of ownership from the outset. It will be aligned to Birmingham Youth Service development plan, Birmingham Children and Young People’s plan, Local Area Agreement indicators both for children and young people, and the Northfield Constituency Strategic Partnership.

The regeneration of Longbridge is a £1 billion project covering 468 acres and aspires to a total jobs target of 10,000 for the whole development through a diverse range of industries, together with a 2,000 new homes, a new town centre for Longbridge with a range of retail, leisure and public facilities and new parks and public open spaces.