Sunderland youth and community centre wins alcohol licence in bid to restore '˜community spirit'

A community centre in Sunderland has won permission to sell booze up to 11pm as part of a new premises licence.

Earlier this year, the Silksworth Youth and Community Centre, in Tunstall Village Road, applied to Sunderland City Council to sell alcohol at the site.

This formed part of a wider application for the venue  covering live music, recorded music and late night refreshment.

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The community centre is also the home of the award-winning Youth Almighty Project which hosts activities and sessions for young people in the area.

After getting the go ahead this week, the new licence allows the centre to sell alcohol between 12pm – 11pm, Monday to Saturday and 12pm-10pm on Sunday.

This also includes a 2am extension on New Years Eve.

Chairman of the Youth Almighty Project management committee and Silksworth councillor, Phil Tye, stressed the alcohol licence aims to cater to annual social events including Christmas and New Year.

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The councillor, who lodged the application, has previously spoken out about the impact of underage drinking and stressed alcohol sales would be “completely separate to the youth element” of the centre.

“People are talking about alcohol and people drinking at home, I think we have lost that community spirit where people come in for a couple of drinks, that’s what we want to recreate,” he explained.

“The option is there to serve alcohol if that’s what the people choose, but in a controlled environment.”

After discussions with licensing heads and public health bosses over the licence application, conditions were added around alcohol sales.

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This includes no sales within two hours of any activities for under 18s at the centre – both before and after sessions – with activities classed as ending once all young people have left the premises.

Other conditions  also limit the display and promotion of alcohol when children are on the premises.

The Youth Almighty Project offers centre-based sessions and outreach work alongside aiding young people who are not in education, employment or training.

It also operates a Youth Intervention Team working with partners in ‘hot spot’ areas to target young people involved in alcohol, drug or anti-social behaviour.

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A statement on the project’s website adds it’s mission is to “Identify, support and value the needs and voices of young people through high quality, inspirational opportunities that engage, educate and empower.”

No objections were submitted to the premises licence bid during consultation with the public deadline for representations ending on December 14.

Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service