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Myplace (Blackpool)

Volume 489: debated on Monday 9 March 2009

1. What assessment he has made of the potential contribution of his Department’s myplace programme to supporting young people in Blackpool; and if he will make a statement. (261289)

Myplace will transform the lives of thousands of young people in Blackpool, as it will those of tens of thousands of other young people across the country. Through £272 million of investment from 2008 to 2011, myplace is delivering world-class facilities for young people, driven by the active participation of young people themselves. Last week, I announced the second tranche of £180 million for 41 superb projects across the country, including £4 million for the Blackpool youth hub.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that this is a splendid example of the way in which Government initiatives from children’s centres to myplace are transforming prospects for young people in towns such as Blackpool? Will she congratulate with me the council officials, the Blackpool young people’s council and all those involved in school councils in Blackpool who have been involved in putting the project together and, as importantly, continue to be involved in voluntary work that makes a practical link between Government initiatives and day-to-day life in the Blackpool community?

Yes, I will. It was a superb bid. It was strong in two respects, which is particularly important. The first strength was the partnership behind the bid, which means that a strong and secure revenue funding stream supports future work through the involvement of the primary care trust and the police. The second strength was the central involvement of young people that shaped the bid and decided what it would provide, including a mixture of exciting activities as well as a range of advice, information and support for young people from the various agencies involved.

I very much welcome this exciting initiative in Blackpool, South. While we are waiting for something in Blackpool, North, will the Minister please liaise with Blackpool council to ensure that young people who live in the north of the town can access this new facility and all the other facilities that are available on the Palatine school site?

That is very important. The partnerships putting in the bids—Blackpool’s bid was strong in this respect—had to demonstrate how they would seriously involve young people from a range of communities, in particular those from the most disadvantaged communities. We know that the young people who cannot get these opportunities routinely through their family are the ones for whom the opportunities offered by the centres of participating in such positive activities with good, mature adults who are good role models will make the most difference. My hon. Friend’s point is a very important one.