MEMBERS of Aldbourne Youth Council showed off their new £300,000 premises in The Square on Saturday when they held an open house.

The youth council has been able to acquire the group of cottages and shops in the centre of the village thanks to generous sponsorship from local landowner and businessman Brian Kingham.

Mr Kingham has funded the purchase of the building, said AYC adult trustee Andy Devey. “He has put the buildings into a trust for as long as the youth council wants it or until such time as the youth council is no longer.

“The arrangement is that we look after the refurbishment and maintenance,” said Mr Devey, adding that it was estimated it would cost £100,000 to get the buildings into good shape.

AYC has already raised £2,500 which includes a donation for half that amount from the Blue Boar who held an auction and split the proceeds between the youth council and St Michael’s Church.

On Saturday members of AYC asked villagers for ideas of how to raise funds and also for ideas on what to do with the building for the benefit of all ages, not just the village’s young people.

The AYC is for young people aged between eight and 18 but, said Mr Devey, it wants to share the premises with other age groups.

Currently youth council members use the CAN, part of former public conveniences they rent from the parish council, and have created an internet cafe where people of all ages learn how to use computers.

The national award-winning AYC needs somewhere bigger, said Mr Devey.

“We have outgrown the CAN and need more space, especially for the older teen-agers who, dare I say it, are out on the streets.

“While the new building is mainly for youth it will be for the community as whole, we want it to be inter-generational.”

Ideas put forward at Saturday’s open house included moving the village library from its present cramped premises into one of the empty shops; creating a cafe; and possibly using one of the larger rooms for Saturday morning cinema for young people.

Mr Devey said the AYC would be seeking grants and funding and one of the first agencies it would approach was the Marlborough Area Board of Wiltshire Council.

“We want to be in that building and have it in use for all sections of the community as soon as possible,” Mr Devey said.