A project to turn an under-used and run-down youth club into a state-of-the-art community clubhouse is close to coming to fruition, after Wirral Council’s Cabinet agreed to capital funding of £650,000 for the development.

The idea of redeveloping Bebington Youth Club into a new Community Clubhouse dates back to 2016 when elected representatives and members of the community met to discuss the future of the centre and identify a new approach to how the site was used, in a way that better benefited the whole local community.

At that time – and as it is currently - the youth club only opened for nine hours per week, three hours on three evenings per week and only for young people aged 13-19.

The new clubhouse will be managed by New Ferry Rangers Football Club, which recently registered as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO).

It will still deliver the existing youth services, however it will be open seven days a week until 9pm and deliver a whole host of other services and projects on the doorstep of one of the most deprived communities in the country.

Cllr Janette Williamson, Cabinet member for Finance and Resources, said: “The Community Clubhouse project sits very comfortably alongside the council’s commitment to promoting community wealth building.

“This project chimes with a number of its core principles; not least ‘plural ownership of the economy’ and ‘socially-just use of land and property’. This development should be seen as complimentary to the wider regeneration of New Ferry.”

The site will have a new £120,000 Sport England-funded caged 3G football pitch installed, which will help with the longer-term financial sustainability of the clubhouse facility as a whole.

This new 3G provision will complement Wirral’s current leisure offer and go some way to addressing the deficit in the recent playing pitch strategy.

A community café will also open up on site along with a state-of-the-art community gym.

As a CIO, New Ferry Rangers FC will reinvest any profits back into the local community by directly delivering and commissioning much needed initiatives, such as ‘Holiday Hunger’ schemes or projects that help improve employment prospects or address social isolation in the area.

The National Lottery ‘Power To Change’ Bright Ideas fund contributed more than £20,000 development funding, bringing in architects to work with the CIO and supporting the formation of the charity.

Brian Whaley, Strategic Lead Planning and Programmes at Sport England, added: “Sport England are proud to be working in partnership with Wirral Council and New Ferry Rangers in the redevelopment of Bebington Youth Centre. This ambitious scheme is an opportunity to breathe new life into a facility that will boost sport and physical activity in the area.”