A Lancashire businessman who has built his reputation on running an award-winning garden centre business is turning his attention to a different challenge - growing youth opportunities.
Guy Topping, managing director of Barton Grange Leisure Group, is to chair the board of Preston Youth Zone+,
The Zone+ is an ambitious £6m project to create a centre where all young people in Preston can go, have something to do and someone to talk to seven days a week.
“It’s being spearheaded by leading private and public sector businesses and individuals across the region with major funding from Lancashire County Council.
As details of the board membership was announced Guy told the Courier why he had decided to take on this new challenge.
He explained his decision could be traced to the eight years he lived in Bolton.
He said: “I’m a long time supproter of the Bolton Lads and Girls’ Club, I’ve been involved for 15 years.“
“When the opportunity came along I thought I should put my money where my mouth is and get involved.They need someone to be the front man.
“I’m most looking forward to getting it open and seeing all the kids in there and getting them off the streets.”
“I would like to apply a lot of what I’ve learnt in business to make it a youth xone that’s very successful.
“My primary role is to manage the board and be the lead for our work in negotiating with Lancashire County Council who are partners in it and with OnSide North West, the charity supporting us to deliver the youth zone.”
There are already Youth Zones in Blackburn, Manchester, Carlisle and Oldham, with pne due to open in Wigan.
Help will be needed in terms of fund-raising and with volunteers, said Guy.
It is hoped to open the new facility and club in 2014.