WORK on a £6.1m project to create a new five-storey YMCA in Bolton town centre has started – promising a massive boost for young adults in the town.

The new building, called ‘Y-Pad’, will provide independent living space for young people.

The building will transform YMCA’s existing community and drop-in centre on Deansgate to create 40 self-contained apartments for young people in Bolton, aged between 18 and 25.

Demolition work has started on YMCA’s existing premises at the site, which is expected to be completed 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.

The Y-Pad has been designed by Preston-based architects, Cassidy and Ashton.

Alistair Baines, the firm’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.

“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 self-contained one-bedroom apartments each has a kitchen and bathroom.

John Shepley, chair of trustees at YMCA Bolton added: “I am delighted to see the start of this new and exciting project. The YMCA on Deansgate has a long and enviable record of working with and supporting the Bolton community.

“However, 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.

“In order to secure the necessary changes, the trustees developed a strong working partnership with our YMCA colleagues at Fylde Coast.

“Together with their help and support we have been able to achieve our goal of a new build incorporating both 40 self-contained one bed apartments and room for our own YMCA activities.”

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

“Without doubt this marks a new era for YMCA Bolton and the trustees look forward to the new and exciting times ahead.”

“Cassidy and 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.”