Rhys Jones centre plans on track

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Rhys Jones

Rhys Jones

A brand new community centre built in memory of murdered schoolboy Rhys Jones could be ready for this summer, despite funding targets not yet being achieved.

The 11-year-old was tragically shot in 2007 as he walked to football practice near his home in Croxteth.

Following his death a trust was established with a primary goal of raising funds for a community centre for the Croxteth residents in Rhys’ name. The centre is designed to provide a safe place for adults, children and young people to meet and play, and will include sports facilities such as all-weather soccer pitches.

Christine Chellew, who helps Rhys’ parents run the trust, told JMU Journalism: “We are very excited that the project has been given the all clear. The place will be a fantastic tribute for Rhys and it’s something that people in the area are really going to be able to use.”

Currently the Rhys Jones Memorial Fund funding stands at £540,000. To achieve the charity’s goal to build a lasting tribute to Rhys they require £1.5 million.

Last year plans for the centre had to be altered after funding was re-evaluated. Its original proposal included a sports hall, badminton courts, an auditorium, cafe, youth centre and gym.

Christine said: “We are more than confident that we can we can hit our target. Although we are one third of the way there, we still have a long way to go to achieve our target.”

The trust has already had support from a host of celebrities, including former Liverpool players Bruce Grobbelaar and Alan Kennedy, as well as former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez, who donated a “sizeable amount” to the trust.

Planning permission for the centre has already been granted. The council have decided that they will transfer the facility to the Alt Valley Community Trust to run the centre. The trust already manages several other sports centres in the area.

The city council will be asked to endorse the project at a meeting this Friday.

About Rory O'Reilly, JMU Journalism