AN appeal to buy housing for young people in Henley has received a £50,000 boost.
The money was presented to the Henley YMCA by the Thamesfield Youth Association, which sold the Henley Youth Centre site in Deanfield Avenue earlier this year. It brings the total raised so far to £200,000, two-thirds of the way towards the target.
The YMCA wants to purchase the lease on the accommodation at its Lawson Road complex, which houses 31 young people. The move comes after YMCA England announced that it is exiting housing and is selling the property it owns. The Henley branch owns the land in Lawson Road but not the 21 studio flats and 10 one-bedroom flats, which have been valued at £566,500.
It launched the appeal to raise £300,000 of the total, with the rest hopefully coming from loans and grants, and has until the end of March 2017 to buy the lease.
Gill Dodds, a trustee of the association, said: ?The YMCA is doing the same sort of work that the youth centre did. It ticks all the boxes of the mental, social and physical wellbeing of the young people of Henley.?
Fellow trustee Elizabeth Hodgkin said: ?For young people who work or live in Henley the YMCA provides an opportunity for them to have an independent living. It?s a transition stage ? rentals are too expensive and they certainly couldn?t afford to buy and we might lose them from the town. They are not totally on their own, they are still getting support. They are not just being dumped in a bedsit.?
Rosemary Duckett, who chairs the YMCA?s trustees, said: ?I?m absolutely amazed by such generosity, it?s absolutely fantastic.?
Trustee and Deputy Mayor Julian Brookes is to ask South Oxfordshire District Council for a £170,000 loan while Henley Town Council will consider giving £100,000 if the target is not reached. The YMCA may also use £50,000 from its reserves.
The association sold the youth centre site in June for £3million to care home operator B&M Care. The sale included a derelict plot owned by The Henley College and the proceeds were split between the two.
To donate, send a cheque, made payable to YMCA Henley, to: YMCA Henley, Templeton House, 2 Lawson Road, Henley, RG9 1NZ. To help raise funds or register for gift aid, call Angela Healey on (01491) 411849 or email firstname.lastname@example.org