Work starts on new £6.1m YMCA facility in Bolton

Plans for the new Deansgate building

A £6.1m project to create a five-storey YMCA independent living facility for young people has started.

The new building, called ‘Y-Pad’ and designed by Preston-based architects, Cassidy +Ashton, will transform the YMCA’s existing community and drop-in centre on Deansgate to create 40 modern self-contained apartments for young people in Bolton aged between 18 and 25.

Demolition work has started on the YMCA’s existing premises at the site which is expected to complete in March. Construction work is scheduled to start in April with an anticipated completion date of January 2022.

As well as providing the opportunity for young people to move out of supported accommodation and foster care and become more independent, Y-Pad’s ground floor will house Bolton Y-Zone, enabling the continuation of YMCA Bolton’s youth services, as well as operating a food bank.

Alistair Baines, Cassidy + Ashton’s chairman and head architect on the project, said: “It has been a real pleasure to be involved in such an important and much needed facility and to help bring life to YMCA’s vision for the Bolton community.

“We chose a contemporary, aspirational design for the building, taking into consideration features and materials that reflect the same flavour and architectural language as the surrounding historic buildings. In addition, by incorporating large, glazed areas and the use of modern materials, we feel the new building will offer a light, spacious facility and a welcoming environment for young people to realise their independence.”

The design process for creating Y-Pad involved input from young people to ensure their wishes and needs were considered. The resulting generous self-contained one-bedroom apartments each include a kitchen and bathroom to enable them to live independently and be reintegrated into society.

John Shepley, chairman of trustees at YMCA Bolton, said: “For some time now the trustees have recognised that the existing building was not best able to meet the changing needs and demands of our local community. The existing building had become an increasing drain on our limited financial resources, so we needed to change and adapt.

“It has taken us several years to reach this point, but I know we can now look forward with confidence to the future.”

He said Cassidy + Ashton has been involved in several YMCA projects, most recently the redevelopment of the YMCA Lakeside school facility at Lake Windermere: “The success of this building reflects their creative ability to design modern functional buildings with sympathetic consideration of the surrounding environment.

The Bolton Y-Pad project is a collaboration between YMCA Bolton and Y:Housing (YMCA Blackburn).

As well as providing architectural and design services, Cassidy + Ashton will manage the project onsite on behalf of YMCA, working alongside constructors Walter Carefoot & Sons Construction.