New life for former bank to bring lasting benefits

The first stage of the transformation of a former town centre bank is about to take place with the opening of a new Post Office. It’s arrival at the former Royal Bank of Scotland building on Market Street, Chorley is reinvigorating the long derelict site. 

With the Post Office due to open its doors very soon, following the ongoing public consultation, development of the second retail unit is already underway – and then where’s the original bank vault to consider! 

The rental income from the retail units and bank vault will help to launch a unique charity project that will benefit young people in the town. The successful Inspire Youth Zone is planning to develop 14 self-contained homes on the upper two floors, providing much needed accommodation for young people taking the first steps into independence. 

The former bank that has been vacant for around 18 months, is now owned by Andy Turner MBE, Chair of the Chorley Group, and Chair of Inspire Youth Zone. To support the plan, he is donating the space to support the charity. 

The aim is to create long term rental accommodation for 16-25-year-olds, who will be supported by Inspire staff to help them get used to living independently. It’s not just about a roof over their heads but helping them with things like tenancy skills, employability, and other life skills. 

Work on renovating the building has been carried out by several local businesses who have provided professional services, resources and labour either for free or at a reduced cost. They include Philip Lambert Architecture, the Chorley Group, Design Roof Systems, Lancashire Double Glazing, Lenehan Scaffolding, Access Doors security shutters, Circuit Electrical, Matchstick Men, Heating and Cooling Installations and Lostock Skip Hire. 

Janine Blythe, Chief Executive of Inspire, said: “It is great to see the progress that’s been made with the opening of the Post Office. This is a landmark moment for the project but there is more to do. 

“We work closely with young people in the area every day and we see that it’s often a struggle for them to secure available and affordable rental accommodation. That’s why this project is so important.” 

Jeremy Gorick of Centaur, who provided the roofing material, said: “It is great to be involved in such a positive project that will bring new life to the town and support young people too. It’s a very worthwhile initiative and we were happy to play our part.” 

Inspire plan to work in partnership with either Chorley Borough Council or a local registered Housing Provider. 

Inspire, on Chapel Street in Chorley, offers everything from indoor climbing and sports, to dance and drama, with over 20 activities on offer each night. The purpose-built facility, which opened three years ago, continues to offer somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk to for young people aged 8-19 for just 50p per visit. 

To show your support, please donate via www.inspireyouthzone.org