PLANS to refurbish Barnsley’s YMCA building in the town centre - thanks to so-called ‘levelling up funding’ from the government - are set to take a step closer after plans were signed off this week.

An application was submitted by the council for the refurbishment of the Blucher Street building - which includes alterations both internally and externally as well as a new car park - in December.

After four months of deliberation, the plans were officially given the green light earlier this week.

It’s now 15 months since the council received more than £10m in levelling up cash from the government.

Cash will be used to fund an activity park next to the town’s forthcoming youth zone off Schwabisch Gmund Way and the creation of the Northern Academy for Vocal Excellence (NAVE), which will become a permanent home for Barnsley Youth Choir.

A wellbeing hub based at YMCA was also included in the plans.

Matt O'Neill, executive director for growth and sustainability at the council, said: "This regeneration project, funded by round two of the Levelling Up Fund is about investing in Barnsley’s future.

“The redevelopment of the YMCA’s building will enable Chilypep and YMCA to provide a safe, inclusive and welcoming space for children locally.

“It will also enable mental health and wellbeing support to be provided helping our young people to thrive and become more resilient.

“Through exterior renovations, entrances, outdoor spaces, youth activity areas, and sports facilities, the revamped YMCA facility will offer a refreshed space for opportunities and community engagement."

The current site on Blucher Street has been described as ‘less than adequate’ and therefore the work will help to bring the area up to scratch.

“In its existing state, due to its age, the building is a less than adequate state, and so is in growing need of refurbishment and of some repair in order to - in part - bring it up to a more appropriate basic standard,” the report added.

“But also primarily in order to improve its sustainability, its environmental performance, its day-to-day operational function, and crucially to allow for improvement and enhancement to the services that the YMCA and Chilypep offer.”

It’s believed the refurbishment will help Barnsley both economically and in regards to supporting local people.

“The proposals represent redevelopment that will, principally, make a significant contribution towards achieving greater social sustainability in Barnsley, in addition to meaningful economic and environmental sustainability contributions,” it added.

“There is also less tangible but equally valuable economic benefit arising from the financial investment represented by the proposals which will support local jobs during the course of construction, and which is indeed already supporting small businesses in the wider South Yorkshire area."

Andrea Battye, youth work manager at YMCA Barnsley, added: "We are immensely grateful to have received this funding, and we are excited about the opportunities it presents for us to make an even greater impact in the lives of those we serve.

“The planned redevelopment will help to modernise our facilities as well as future proofing the building making it more environmentally friendly and sustainable.

“It will also enable us to continue to provide support to children and young people in our borough and greatly improve the facilities for our CYP Emotional Wellbeing Hub - HOME.

“With this support, we will be able to enhance our facilities and expand our programs, ensuring that we can continue to help young people to navigate life's challenges and realise their full potential."