A HUGE clean-up operation has begun to give the children of Blackpool somewhere to go.
The Boathouse Youth, which currently provides after school activities, adventure holidays and day trips for more than 350 children, is moving into larger premises at the disused South Shore Library.
This will give the club the chance to attract more youngsters to their modern base when it opens in April and provide sessions seven days a week compared to the five it currently offers.
Laurance Hancock, general manager of the youth club, says the £100,000 move – made possible by a trustee – will help more children than ever in the deprived area.
He added: “It will completely change the organisation.
“This will have a positive domino effect because we will be open more often, target different provisions and interest groups, which will in turn access more young people.
“We’ll have more time to offer more activities and more space for young people. One of the things we have never developed is our home and now, with our building, we can grow.”
The Boathouse Youth has spent the last three and a half years in rented accommodation at St Peter’s church hall, Lytham Road, and could only open on a limited basis.
But the renovation of the Lytham Road library, which closed down in 2004, includes a, computer room, kitchen and changing rooms.
Coun Chris Maughan, cabinet member for young people at Blackpool Council, said: “It’s fantastic a community group can evolve like this and it shows when you have people on the ground like the Boathouse Youth they can address the problems and provide for young people. The young people clearly love going there and the work Laurance has put in is fantastic.
“When I met him I felt he was very much spearheading the approach for the youngsters.”