Liam Byrne will be congratulating local Social Action group Comm:Pact today, as Hutton Hall is transferred from Birmingham City Council to their care. Liam has campaigned for the group to take over the neglected Youth Centre for three years. He has worked with Comm:Pact for seven years, helping them to set up an internet cafe in response to his youth conferences when he was first elected. The Member of Parliament for Birmingham Hodge Hill has long argued that asset transfer is the way forward in deprived areas to promote community engagement in regeneration. Liam first set out this idea in his Hodge Hill 2020 conferences in 2006. This is his 20 year regeneration plan for Hodge Hill based around sports, retail and housing. Hodge Hill has around 50% more green space per capita than the Birmingham average – and is one of the youngest constituencies in the country. But much of the space is undeveloped, and local residents’ have consistently identified the need for more things for youngsters to do. This inspired his programme of work with young people – and his work to create a sports village linking the renewal of our schools, spaces and sports facilities into a network of assets available for sports use across the community. Local young people have been key to developing this vision. Ultimately he aims to create a sports village trust, owned by the community to run these important assets on our community’s behalf. Now this vision is coming true with Hutton Hall handed to Comm:Pact to run diverse programmes including sports and healthy living. The transfer appeared to be at risk after Youth Capital Funding was cut and £200k promised for the refurbishment clawed back by the Tory led council. But the young people were not to be crushed and have instead rolled up their sleeves to decorate the hall, sacrificing their Christmas holidays to do so. They have also chased money from MAC Arts to cover the exterior with a modern graffiti art mural and been granted £2,000. Liam said: This shows the determination of our young people. They come from an area with the highest level of youth unemployment in the country, an area with chronic poverty and deprivation but they aspire to more. Masood Yasin and Masood Ajaib from Comm:Pact are incredible inspirational mentors and I am delighted they are finally getting their hands on Hutton Hall. They show our young people every day that whatever obstacles are put in your way you can still succeed. You can still reach your dreams.
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