The big ‘pack up’ of The Sweatbox Youth Centre is well underway in preparation for the closure of King Alfred’s East Site in December as part of the Academy’s move from three sites to two sites in January. The Sweatbox team are working with local business McDermid Autotype Ltd who have kindly offered to provide the youth centre with welcome boxes and bubble wrap for their packing. The Sweatbox team are still on the lookout for secure storage spaces to store equipment and would welcome contact from anyone who might be able to help.
The Sweatbox’s new base will be on King Alfred’s Centre Site and is expected to be ready sometime during the summer term 2018. From this January, The Sweatbox, working in conjunction with Wantage Youth Town Council, will be taking the youth centre “on tour” using community facilities such as The Old Mill Hall, The Beacon, Wantage Town Football Club and Grove Rugby Club to run exciting event nights for local youngsters, including a roller disco, a gaming night (in conjunction with Toy Planet), DJ night, open air cinema and more. The aim is to ensure that these event nights, which will take place fortnightly, continue to provide young people in Wantage and Grove with an opportunity to engage with trained youth workers and access to Sweatbox services.
To mark the end of The Sweatbox era on the Springfield Road site, the youth centre will be opening its doors for the local community to visit one last time on Saturday 16th December 2pm-6pm. The afternoon will feature retro bands and musicians who have performed at The Sweatbox over the 5 decades that the youth club has been based at East Site and also an array of Sweatbox activities. There is a Facebook page called Sweatbox Cockroaches (the name given to ex-‘Sweatboxers’ who remain involved with the club) where people can post stories and photos of their time at the youth centre.
George Hicks, Sweatbox Youth Centre Manager says, ” It’s an exciting time for The Sweatbox. We are looking forward to moving into our new building in the summer and also the opportunity to take The Sweatbox out on tour, allowing us to engage with even more young people, especially those who might not already be accessing Sweatbox services. The most important thing is that we keep the youth provision running and as consistent as possible during this period.”