A NEW youth centre has opened at Cramlington’s Manor Walks shopping mall.
Named Venue, it was officially unveiled by students from Cramlington Learning Village and town and county councillor Barrie Crowther.
Run by Blyth-based social enterprise company Digital Community Youth, it includes a multimedia suite equipped with six laptop computers, two video diary booths, a digital graffiti wall for youngsters to project their own art designs onto, a PlayStation 3 and an air hockey table.
A live webcam relaying footage of redevelopment work taking place outside the shopping centre can also be seen there.
Shopping centre general manager Bruno Coppola said: “This project is a major step forward in community involvement in Cramlington.
“Despite young people often getting bad press, there is so much young talent in the area, and this centre will give these youngsters the opportunity to shine and put their skills into action.
“It gives them something rewarding and interactive to do that fits with their technology-led lifestyles.”
Business studies students at the Highburn school are already using the centre for a project to learn more about the retail industry, managing cashflow and marketing.
Digital Community Youth project manager Mick Harland said: “The project is being run by our team of volunteers. They will work with tenants, community groups and young people in Cramlington to help create a more cohesive town centre.
“As well as all the fun digital activities, we are also offering schools and groups the opportunity to join a youth management team so they can assist with managing the project at weekends and during holidays to give them ownership of the centre and learn entrepreneurial skills.”
The centre will also act as an information point and police drop-in venue.
Community and charity groups are being invited to showcase their work at the centre in return for sponsorship.
For more information, contact the Venue on (01670) 730298.