Express & Star

Wolverhampton YMCA in move to retain ‘essential’ portable cabin

Plans to retain an “essential” portable cabin that houses support services for vulnerable youngsters living in residential accommodation in Wolverhampton have been submitted to council bosses.

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The YMCA Black Country Group building on Badger Drive facing Cannock Road in Wolverhampton. Photo: Google Street View

The building, on Badger Drive facing Cannock Road, is used as a 24-hour base for staff from the YMCA Black Country Group, which provides educational and administrative services for 22 homeless and vulnerable young people, aged 16-25, housed in Badger Court next door.

Badger Court is leased by Midland Heart Ltd which is registered with the housing corporation as the social landlords.

They have appointed the YMCA Black Country Group to act as their agents and to provide the housing management and support services required by the occupants of the building.

Whilst in residence, the young people are given structured training to provide them with job-ready and domestic living skills, which will enable them to sustain independent living when they move out into the community.

A statement from YMCA Black Country said: “The portable cabin is used almost daily as a training room and meeting room both for residents and external training providers.

"The project is currently working in partnership with a number of third-party training providers in addition to chaplaincy support to enable young people to gain the necessary skills to enter into education, training and/or volunteering.

“In addition, the portable cabin also enables us to provide the facilities to external organisations to deliver programmes and training to the wider community.

"The layout of Badger Court is very much residential in nature with only one communal area, which is not appropriate to use for training or meeting purposes as this is part of the young person’s home and in any event, would not lend itself to be a suitable location for delivering training or holding meetings.

“Operating as a supported housing project, it is a requirement of our funding to provide support and training to all of our residents and by far the most effective way to achieve this is by on-site delivery.

“Aside from the costs, it simply would not be practicable to hold training sessions off-site. Any plans which the organisation may have had to replace the portable cabin with something more permanent have been put on hold due to significant cuts to our core funding.

“Temporary planning permission for the location of a portable cabin on the access court of the main building was first granted in 2002.

"Subsequent approvals have extended its presence on the site, and it has proved to be an essential part of the facilities provided for on-site training by the YMCA Black Country Group.”

In the event of the termination of Midland Heart Ltd’s lease, Badger Court would return to council management and the accommodation services provided by YMCA Black Country Group would cease.

The temporary portable cabin would therefore be removed and the site reinstated.

YMCA Black Country Group are currently in the process of having the lease assigned to it from Midland Heart. Planners will make a final ruling on the proposals in the near future.