Saturday, 24 October 2009

WAG grant pushes the right buttons for Community IT Centre

Deputy Minister for Regeneration Leighton Andrews has paid a visit to Abergele Youth Action to see how a Welsh Assembly Government Community Facilities and Activities Programme grant has helped the organisation create successful community IT centre.

Abergele Youth Action (AYA) was established by a group of volunteers in 2001 after a rise in incidents of anti-social behaviour amongst young people in the community. The group offers activities and opportunities for young people aged 10-25 to keep them off the streets and encourage more socially acceptable behaviour.

In 2005 the group received over £190,000 of funding from the Community Facilities and Activities Programme to employ 3 full time staff for a period of 3 years in its IT centre, known as ITACA. This ensured that the centre could open long hours to meet the needs of the community. The three year project was so successful that the group secured funding from the Big Lottery Fund in 2008 for a further three years.

The project provides training, both in IT and catering skills at the internet café, which also provides a meeting point for the community. The group also works with stroke victims and people with dysphasia, using IT to stimulate their co-ordination, and provides counselling and career and healthy living advice to the community. AYA now have plans to expand their facilities to include a community coffee shop, an IT training suite which can be hired out and meeting rooms and office space for community organisations.

The Deputy Minister said:

"I am delighted to see that the money we have given to Abergele Youth Action has been put to such good use. It is a prime example of how the Community Facilities and Activities Programme can make a real, tangible difference to community and voluntary groups at grass roots level.

"Like AYA, many of the projects from earlier grants have now come to fruition and have made a huge difference to the communities in which they are based. These facilities are at the very heart of our communities and help people, young and old, form new friendships, learn new skills, get involved in activities and build healthier, happier lives. I wish AYA well with all their plans for the future."


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