Merseyside's Deputy Police Commissioner has praised the work of a state-of-the-art youth centre which helps thousands of young people on the Wirral during a second her out and about day.
Cllr Emily Spurrell was given a guided tour of purpose-built youth facility, the Hive, by its Chief Executive Stuart Barnes during her tour of the Wirral.
The Hive opened in April 2017 with the aim of providing a safe environment for young people to enjoy while giving them opportunities to raise their aspirations and confidence. It offers a wide array of activities and facilities for young people aged between eight and 19, and for those with a disability up to the age of 25, including dance, sport, fitness, music and media.
The £6m centre, situated on Bright Street in Birkenhead, was developed with young people at its heart, with more than 300 young people from across the borough consulted on all aspects of its development, including its brand identity, the design of the centre and the fundraising. It now has more than 6,500 members and earlier this month it was awarded ‘Autism Champion’ status, recognising its commitment to providing autism-friendly services and ensuring youth workers and management are full trained.
Emily said: “The Hive is a fantastic asset to young people across the Wirral. With its wide range of activities and facilities and its dedicated and caring team, it offers a safe and supportive environment for young people to develop and to reach their full potential.
“It is clear that the management, staff and volunteers are incredibly passionate about giving each and every child that visits the Hive the best possible start in life. The fact that thousands of young people are now using its facilities demonstrates just what a huge impact the Hive is having, both on their lives and communities across the Wirral.
"It was also great to hear of the really successful diversionary work the centre carried out during Halloween and Bonfire Night with a small grant from the Commissioner’s Police Property Act fund to engage with more than 2,600 young people and help prevent them from getting involved in dangerous activities.
““If it wasn’t for the work of the Hive some of those young people could otherwise be in danger of losing their way and even being exploited by older people who are involved in crime. Once a young person gets a criminal record it can blight their future prospects. If a community or voluntary organisation, like the Hive, can prevent them from making mistakes at a young age we can look forward to a better future for them.”
The Deputy Police Commissioner kicked off her tour of the borough at Wallasey Police Station where she was met by Merseyside Police’s Superintendent Ian Hassall and Chief Inspector Nick Gunatilleke who gave her an overview of policing issues on the Wirral and talked about the really effective partnership work between the police and Wirral Borough Council, specifically the co-location of the council’s ASB team within Wallasey Police Station. They also discussed the innovative work of the Safer Wirral Hub to prevent issues before they arise in the area.
Emily then continued her day by visiting Bebington Police Station, which officially re-opened its doors a year ago after a major refurbishment as part of the Commissioner, Jane Kennedy’s strategy to transform and modernise Merseyside Police’s stations.
The station, which had been closed and empty since November 2013, was brought back to use following a six-month renovation project which created a more efficient, open-plan working space. The station now houses 74 police officers, Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and Special Constables and has a room to allow officers to meet with members of the public on an appointment basis.
Emily said: “It was great to see the modern, fit-for-purpose facilities which are now being used by officers, PCSOs and staff in Bebington. This refurbished station puts Merseyside Police right at the heart of the community in an environment which suits their needs now and for the future, in a building which is affordable and efficient. This was the first major refurbishment carried out as part of the Commissioner’s 10-year strategy to transform the Force’s buildings and, as such, it has helped to set the standard for all future developments.
“It was a pleasure to meet the teams who are now working from Bebington and hear about the great work they are doing to serve the local communities.”
The tour was Emily’s second out and about day visiting local communities across Merseyside, following on from a tour of south Sefton last week. She is due to visit Huyton later this month.
Find out more about The Hive here.
Image: Deputy PCC Cllr Emily Spurrell with The Hive Chief Executive Stuart Barnes