Network Ryde, Ryde Town Council’s youth service, is a vibrant youth service offering young people amazing opportunities to meet friends, have fun and learn new skills.
They are crying out for more space, as they operate from a tiny building with little space and facilities. Benefiting from a Youth Investment Fund grant will be game-changing and means Network Ryde will be able to effectively treble the number of young people they reach to over 160 a week. The grant will mean they can transform their newly purchased building at St Thomas Church, a substantial Grade II Listed church.
Young People have been at the centre of every stage of the project, from making the decision to use the church, to briefing architects and deciding on the best use of the space.
Watching many younger students now using the space is brilliant, but these days Network Ryde is getting busier and busier every day. The expansion to a new building would provide the opportunity for separate areas for studying and gaming. And much more room for other activities.
One of the young people who love coming to Network Ryde
The new state-of-the-art facility will create a safe, warm, and accessible space, including showers and toilets, a kitchen where young people can cook with produce they have grown on the youth service allotment, quiet and confidential spaces, an IT space, and lots of room to enjoy activities like cooking and roller skating, as well as movie and music nights and indoor camping. The church has a lovely outdoor space, perfect for bat boxes, wildlife cameras and swift boxes to encourage wildlife to live alongside the youth service.
The funding will enable Network Ryde to provide a high-quality renovation – creating a beacon of opportunity and hope and belief in the talent of young people.
Young people have been at the heart of this development. We bought St. Thomas's Church in January 2021, and this incredible Youth Investment Fund award now enables Ryde to fully implement our vision of an innovative Town Centre young people inspired youth centre. This has been achieved by the hard work and dedication of a small professional team and I wish to thank them so much on behalf of the Ryde community. Ryde is becoming a beacon of opportunity and hope and belief in the talent of our young people.
Cllr Michael Lilley
Mayor of Ryde