Mansfield centre picks up four awards for its design

MANSFIELD’S Westfield Folkhouse Young People’s Centre, which received a £6.5m restoration and extension last year, has won four awards for its building design and the involvement of local young people in the project.

The building won a ‘Community Recognition’ Civic Trust award at this year’s ceremony, which aims to recognise the best in architecture, design, planning, landscape and public art.

A specialist finalist award in the ‘Selwyn Goldsmith’ category was also awarded for outstanding universal design.

The project was also given two ‘Highly Commended’ awards by the Royal Chartered Institute of Chartered Surveyors at their East Midlands awards for ‘Community Benefit’ and ‘Building Conservation’.

The project is currently shortlisted for a further three awards by SCALA, LABC and the RIBA with outcomes over the next few months.

The centre is run by Nottinghamshire County Council which took a lead role with its interior and landscape design, and managed the building project.

A management committee made up of local young people was set up to gain their views on all aspects of the building including design features, activities and resources to ensure it meets their needs.

Lewis and Hickey Architects was used for the project and GF Tomlinson Building Ltd was the main construction contractor.

The centre is now a world-class, state-of-the-art facility offering youth clubs and targeted projects for young people seven days a week has been created following the improvements.

Improvements included a 1,000 square metre extension over two floors which replaced a smaller 1960s addition and houses rooms for multi-media gaming zones, music and dance, a DJ booth, activities areas, a café bar and offices.

A series of sensory gardens for recreational and educational use has been created outside along with a ‘petanque’ ball court, an outdoor gym, walls for graffiti art, allotments, and areas for five-a-side football, volley ball, chess and boules.

The main house, which dates from the 1830s and is grade II listed, was sensitively refurbished for office space and meetings. Original plastered ceilings were restored, traditional lime plaster with horsehair was used for internal walls and the original stone flag floor in the entrance hall was uncovered under inches of modern concrete as part of the project.

The council contributed £1.5m towards the improvements with the remaining money coming from the Government’s Myplace fund.

Coun Reg Adair, the county council’s cabinet member for finance and property, said: “The key to the success of this ambitious building project has been the role of local young people in assisting with its design and these awards recognise this crucial involvement.

“The council has been successful in creating a building that is bright, modern and full of activities to attract young people to the centre and these awards are a wonderful bonus.”

The Big Lottery Fund is delivering Myplace on behalf of the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF).