AN ‘outstanding’ scheme which saw volunteers and businesses come together to give a park’s ailing pavilion a new lease of life is already paying off - and is now being used as a hub for local youngsters.

Royston Park sits in the centre of the village but, in recent years, its pavilion - once the centrepiece of the award-winning green space - has become neglected, underused and the subject of repeated vandalism.

Mayor of Barnsley Coun Caroline Makinson, who represents the Royston ward, became anxious to find the best way to rejuvenate the asset and, after an extensive refurbishment, it’s now home to out-of-school club Cool Kidz R Us.

The group provide youngsters in the village with something to do both before and after school and Coun Makinson praised their arrival at the venue.

She said: “The pavilion’s a great community asset but it had fallen into disrepair and did need money spending on it - now that’s done and the group’s in, it shows just how needed this venue is in Royston.

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“Cool Kidz R Us are a fantastic addition as they keep Royston’s youngsters entertained, off the streets and away from mischief.

“I would like to express my sincere thanks to everyone that played a part in the renovation as the support was absolutely critical in bringing the building back to life.

“Our vision was to make the community’s pavilion a safe place for children and young people’s activities, right on their doorstep in Royston Park.

“This building with the new facilities now in place is proving to be exactly that. The opportunities are endless and we are really looking forward to what the future holds.”

A total of £20,000 in Section 106 money - cash put aside by housing developers to compensate for a loss of amenity - was spent on the venue, while youngsters also received City and Guilds qualifications gained from their on-the-job training.

“It’s really important to highlight the support we’ve had on top,” Coun Makinson added. “The total contribution is estimated to be in excess of £40,000, including £20,000 Section 106 funding, and then all other partners’ expenses and voluntary hours.

“Without everyone pulling in the same direction, the refurbishments wouldn’t have been able to go ahead.”

The facility, which also won the Yorkshire and Humber region title in the RICS Social Impact Awards, will go forward to the national awards which were postponed due to coronavirus

A judging report said: “Due to recent neglect and vandalism of the pavilion, the local council and community decided to embark on a sympathetic refurbishment to put this important asset back into use.

“The level of community engagement during the refurbishment was exceptional and included work experience opportunities and mentoring programmes for young residents.

“These are just some of the points that made this scheme stand out from the others and we hope it continues to benefit community going forward.”