Southend boys’ club hopes to build new home and community centre

A boys’ club in Southend is hoping to have a brand new building to replace the old Nissan hut it currently calls home.

Lifstan Boys Club occupies the extended Nissan hut on a corner plot in Lifstan Way which is also used as a community centre.

The building is in a poor state of repair and “at the end of life”, making it unsuitable for its use as a community centre.

Applicant, Essex Boys and Girls Clubs (EBGC), work with 140 clubs, with 10,000 members, across Essex and Greater London.

It aims to create opportunities for young people aged 11-25 to “develop their character, enhance their skills and build their own bright future”.

In their application, EBGC said: “Our team of experienced youth workers, sports coaches and outdoor instructors deliver sports events, challenging outdoor activities and targeted youth projects to help us achieve our aims.

“Essex Boys and Girls Clubs have been working with Lifstan Boys Club and Southend Amateur Boxing Club for more than 60 years.

“Currently the club building at Lifstan is underutilised and used solely for boxing training as the building is no longer fit for purpose.

“We are proposing to build a multifunctional community building focussed on delivering high quality open-access youth activities, from drop-in style youth club sessions, to more targeted group and one-to-one work.

“The building will be an asset to the community and available for the use of the wider community when not being used for youth activities.”

Martin Terry, Independent councillor for Thorpe Ward, welcomed the application. He said: “They’ve done a lot of good community work over many years. Although it’s not in Thorpe ward itself it’s on the border and there are families in the ward who access that facility. I’m fully supportive of it.

“I’m very happy to see this come forward. I know they’ve done good work in the past so I’m really supportive. Anything we can do to help young people is quite important right now with what’s happening in society right now.”

The design includes three multipurpose halls with sliding partitions that can be used to open the spaces for larger events. Additionally, there would be a dedicated office/reception area, a kitchen, storerooms and toilets and maintenance areas.

Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter