AMBITIOUS plans to create a permanent home for a world-renowned choir will finally come to fruition after a multi-million pound bid was approved.

Barnsley Youth Choir, one of the headline features of the council’s £10.2m Levelling Up Fund application, will occupy the former Computer Centre building on the corner of St Mary’s Place and Westgate in the town centre.

The building will be known as the NAVE - Northern Academy for Vocal Excellence - and will also engage with other organisations to provide a hub for singing regionally and nationally, building an ‘international reputation’ from the base.

Artistic director Mat Wright said: “We are thrilled to receive this significant funding which will not only provide a base for Barnsley Youth Choir, but will become a regional and national centre of excellence, supporting the very highest levels of singing.

“We will be working with some of the greatest international experts, and it is going to be a space for people of all ages to learn and train with the very best in the world.

“We are grateful to colleagues at Barnsley Council who have worked tirelessly to develop a compelling case and a high-quality application which has secured this funding.

“This will be a landmark building that will have a huge impact on the community that we serve, driving ambition and opportunity.

“We are excited to get started and work towards an opening date in 2025.”

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The council previously agreed to lease the Computer Centre building, behind the town hall, for 50 years to aid with the development of the NAVE.

The choir is ranked fifth in the Interkultur World Rankings - the highest-ranked choir from Great Britain - and has won eight first prizes in some of the most important international competitions in the world.

“The plans are really ambitious and while it’s primarily about young people, we want the whole community to benefit from this,” Mat added.

“We’ve got plans for it to be a place that really does serve the community and really does make a difference.

“The NAVE will be a place to support the very highest levels of standards.”