Coventry Boys and Girls Club (CBCG) has had a record-breaking summer after moving into new state-of-the-art premises.
The club attracted more than 600 of the city’s seven to 16-year-olds in the summer holidays to their new three-storey, 4,000 square foot building on Whitefriars Street, which opened earlier this year after Coventry-based solicitors Band Hatton Button negotiated a 250-year lease for CBCG with Coventry City Council.
The club has moved just around the corner from Whitefriars Lane where they had been based since 1965 after property developer Watkin Jones offered to build a custom-built facility for them, in return for acquiring the club’s old premises for student accommodation.
CBGC’s new facilities feature a boxing gym on the top floor, a youth activity room on the second floor where visitors can play table tennis or games consoles, do homework or listen to music and develop photography skills, with the ground floor housing a café and a sports hall.
Paul Williams, who has been a Finance Director at CBCG since 1978, said: “The move to the new premises has definitely sparked a rise in not just young visitors, but also other community groups who are coming in to use the space for a small fee which will benefit the club in the long-term.
“The new facilities now offer something for everyone and is a vital tool in helping young people in deprived areas of the city to stay out of trouble.
“When we were at the old premises a man who used to use the facilities stopped me in the street to thank me for what the club had done for him – he said that all of his childhood friends were in prison now and if he hadn’t have attended the CBCG then he probably would have ended up behind bars – it’s stories like this which make running the club worthwhile.
“We currently run four return bus trips into different areas of the city for youngsters to attend on a Friday evening to make sure we are making the facility as accessible as possible, and if this summer’s visitor numbers are anything to go by, then this building really has laid the long-term foundations for success.”
CBGC’s facility is open for organisations to hire seven days a week, and provides activities as well as food and drink for seven-year-olds to 16-year-olds on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
Dina Parmar, Commercial Property Partner at Band Hatton Button, has worked with CBGC over the past three years to secure the club’s long-term future at Whitefriars Street.
She added: “The club’s new building will make a difference to so many young people’s lives and is a fantastic addition for the city centre and wider community, and we are really proud to have played a role in helping to make these new facilities a reality for Coventry Boys and Girls Club.
“We are passionate about helping charities and community organisations to thrive, and hopefully the club now has the foundations in place to generate an increasing amount of funds to support more activities for young people across Coventry and Warwickshire.”
Councillor Jim O’Boyle cabinet member for jobs and regeneration said: “The Coventry Boys and Girls club has always done really good work in the city. And now it has a new building to match its ambition it’s no surprise to me that it’s doing so well.
“The club is for everyone in the city and the work the team do to link into communities means they have impact way beyond where they are based. They are a real asset for Coventry.”
Click here for more information about Coventry Boys and Girls club.