Hill Street - a jewel in Rugby’s crown

David Davies and Matthew Baker were at the official launch of Hill Streets Music Bursary in memory of Sam Davies, which took place as part of last weeks event. NNL-160111-181104001
David Davies and Matthew Baker were at the official launch of Hill Streets Music Bursary in memory of Sam Davies, which took place as part of last weeks event. NNL-160111-181104001
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Five years of progress at Hill Street Youth and Community Centre since it became a charity were marked at a special event last week.

The wide range of organisations connected with the centre and many of the 1,300 people who pass through its doors each month got together to celebrate the work that goes on there.

In the wake of county council cuts, the Hill Street Youth and Community Centre Association was set up in 2011 to protect the services available for the community.

In April 2014 it became a charity and secured a 25-year lease on the building.

A Big Lottery award was received in 2015 which secured the salaries of staff for five years, allowing the team to continue to extend its reach.

Best known to some as a youth centre, that work continues but there is also an ever-increasing range of community activities happening there, meaning those 1,300 people are of all ages.

Centre manager Grant Duncan has been involved since the early days of it under the new regime and has seen from being what they once claimed was Rugby’s best kept secret to an organisation which makes a difference and creates opportunities for people to move on in their lives.

So while the youth work continues – the current five free youth clubs include one for ages 0-13 where parents come along too, plus four for the 10-19 age group – it is now a very different organisation from its standing five years ago.

It has a number of new offerings such as its mental health support programme and a careers service which aims to overcome barriers to employment.

Add in a 50+ lunch club and a host of other services which make use of the building and it’s no surprise Grant said: “We are looking at the possibility of extending our building - we need more rooms!”

A variety of options are under consideration but whatever the eventual plan, the building will stay open to make sure the good work carries on.