A YOUTH centre was spared being “boarded up” after a charity took on the lease in the wake of council cuts.

The future of Southill Youth Centre on Radipole Lane, Weymouth, was thrown into uncertainty in January after Dorset County Council cut funding.

Southill-based charity Spark, set up four years ago to make improvements to the nearby play area, stepped up to save it from closure.

The group took on the lease of the building last week and held an opening day with Evolution Dance School which will be using the space.

Without the school committing its classes to the site, the charity would not have been able to take on the lease.

Pete Barrow, 55, chairman of Spark, said: “This place has to be self-funding. We need regular users.

“As a group, Spark will try and keep the costs down as low as possible but we do need to make enough to cover overheads.

“When the council decided to cut funding we went from being a small group focused on the play area to a small group trying to keep this place open.

“We want to develop young people. “They have to have a range of things they can do.

“I hope we can provide a programme of activities for young people in the area to help them develop and grow.

“School is important, family is important but so are constructive things to do. Keeping the centre open is a real community effort with a wide variety of people coming together to make it happen.”

Becky Wells, 28, owner of Evolution Dance, said: “There was a general meeting in January in Emmanuel Church.

“People said they didn’t want the centre to be boarded up. I happened to be there and said I would be interested in having the space.

“They put the business plan in based on the school running here.

“We had to provide something different, and by the school being in the space the centre is able to offer local people fitness and wellbeing.”

The centre will expand the range of activities it offers and suggestions include a radio society, exercise classes, youth sessions and more.

To find out more about Evolution Dance, email evolutiondance@outlook.com.