Long standing Stevenage community youth centre celebrates 50th birthday

Gabz performs at Bowes Lyon Centre 50th anniversary

Gabz performs at Bowes Lyon Centre 50th anniversary - Credit: Archant

A community centre which supports young people celebrated its 50th birthday at the weekend.

Lord Cobbold, Pete and Brandy Clarke, from resident folk group, Sherma Batson, Stevenage Mayor, Simo

Lord Cobbold, Pete and Brandy Clarke, from resident folk group, Sherma Batson, Stevenage Mayor, Simon Bowes-Lyon, Hazel Tebbutt, Michael Tebbutt, first general manager, and Caroline Bowes-Lyon celebrate Bowes Lyon Centre 50th anniversary - Credit: Archant

The Bowes Lyon Centre in St George’s Way opened its doors on September 27, 1964, and hosts a variety of youth groups including music, drama and sports.

The building, named after Sir David Bowes-Lyon, opened during the height of the pop era and has played hosted a famous groups such as The Who, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas and The Beach Boys.

Saturday’s celebration – held exactly 50 years after the centre opened – was attended by Sir David’s son, Sir Simon Bowes-Lyon, Lord David Cobbold, whose family runs Knebworth House, and Stevenage’s mayor Sherma Batson.

Around 100 people attended the event, which included live performances from two young Stevenage stars – X Factor finalist Gabz and speed stacker James Acraman, who has appeared on Blue Peter.

Suzi Bowden, youth connections, Anji Archer, Stevenage Education Trust, Robert Taylor, spoken word a

Suzi Bowden, youth connections, Anji Archer, Stevenage Education Trust, Robert Taylor, spoken word artist, Tommy Barnes, receives the award, Michael Bell, youth connections, Lord Cobbold, Karren Andrews, youth connections, and Malackey Archer-Henderson, pictured for an award presentation for a writing project - Credit: Archant


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The centre’s facility manager Kathy Brackley said: “It was a fantastic day and a fitting tribute to this centre that provides so much for young people in the community.

“We’ve got an incredibly versatile building here that can be used by a whole variety of different groups and people.

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“Every week we host a wide range of groups from those doing the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award to gigs for local bands just starting out.”

The centre also runs the Stevenage One Stop Shop, which provides information and support to young people on issues from sexual health to reporting domestic violence.

There is also weekly job club where young people can apply for and get tips on getting into employment.

In total £100 was raised from the day which will go to the Lister MacMillian Cancer Centre at Lister Hospital in Stevenage and James has donated a stacking matt that is signed by all the Blue Peter presenters to be auctioned off for the charity at a later date.

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