Arts and culture ‘center of excellence’ plan for eye-catching seafront building

An eye-catching feature of Redcar’s seafront could be turned into an arts and culture ‘center of excellence’, but external grants will have to be found first.

The £ 5m Tuned In! youth and community facility, which opened in 2011, was a European Regional Development Fund project and promised world class facilities for young people in the area. But it has failed to pay for its upkeep, regularly missing income targets, and is now effectively being subsidized from Redcar and Cleveland Council’s children’s services budget.

The building, which includes a café, IT suites, a performance area and dance studio and overlooks the town’s boating lake, has been named as a key asset in the Redcar Town Deal plans and the council wants to maximize its use by the local community and potential visitors from afield.

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A report said discussions were taking place over remodeling Tuned In! as an arts and culture center of excellence, “hopefully attracting external funding to do so”. The center, which also boasts an outdoor amphitheater, is used by local training providers and as a base for council staff working in youth and community facilities, while youth clubs also run from the building four nights a week.

At one stage during the pandemic it was also being used for covid-19 testing. Coatham ward Councilor Neil Baldwin said the funding no longer existed for Tuned In! to fit its original purpose which was exclusively for youth provision.

He said: “[Under council plans] Coatham is becoming more of a tourist based area and TunedIn is going to have to become a part of that.

“We’ve seen it in the past, when it’s been used as a base for the triathlon, marathon and other cultural events hosted by the town. It’s sad that a youth provision has to show a profit, but this is where local Government is. ”

A council spokeswoman said: “Tuned In! provides a valuable service for our young people, delivering a variety of weekly youth sessions including Tuned In to Music, LGBTQ + Skittles Group, Mange Arts and Games, and technology sessions.

“More than 380 of our young people are members of the clubs. The venue is also hired and used by a range of organizations throughout the year.

“Our ambition is to develop and enhance Tuned In! and its offer, and an arts and culture offer is integral to those plans. The work to develop these plans is ongoing. ”

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