The former Milton Keynes Bus Station has been transformed into a new, modern centre for the city's youngsters. Buszy, as it is now known, is the home of activities and opportunities for young people across arts, culture, music, sport, environment and catering and other areas. Including a skate park, it allows youngsters to widen their skills base, make new friends or complete leadership qualifications.
The Buszy, 401 Elder Gate, CMK, MK9 1LR
Tuesday: Music Hub - 5 - 7pm
Rehearsal space for 14-25 year olds
Individuals and bands welcome
£1 per person
Bring your own equipment, amps supplied, free of charge
Wednesday: Creative Media - 5 - 6pm
Photography, animation and filmmaking for 8-12 year olds
£1 per person
Sew Damn Good - 6.30 - 8pm
For budding crafters, learn new crafting / handmade skills
New projects each week
£5 per person (prince includes materials)
Thursday: Yoga - 10-11am
Learn Yoga every Thursday morning in a relaced and informal space. Yoga mats are provided but you are welcome to bring your own.
£6 per peson (£4 OAP / NUS discount)
Friday: Street Dance
For various ages and abilities, learn hip hop street and freestyle dance
£1 per person
5 - 6pm - adults with learning disabilities
6.30 - 7.30 - 8-14year olds
7.30 - 8.30 - 14 years +
The group behind the facility, which is situated opposite MK Train Station and also used to be home to Shout nightclub, is MaD (Make a Difference).
MaD is a local, non-profit making organisation dedicated to helping and motivating young people in Milton Keynes to make a difference to themselves and others.
The awarding of a £500,000 investment from the SITA Trust and V, the national youth volunteering charity, has helped to contribute towards the building of this cultural hub. New, regular activities at Buszy include monthly gig nights featuring bands from MK and beyond, monthly film nights in an indie-style cinema and vintage craft markets.
Development Manager, Anna Peters, said: "It is all about making this building open to everyone. All the money raised goes directly back into creating free activities for young people in Milton Keynes. Buszy also offers a range of awards and accreditations specifically for young people, including the vInspired Awards, Arts Awards, Youth Achievement Awards, MaD Awards and Sports Leaders Awards. The venue can also be hired out by anyone for private functions, no matter what their age.
The building is constantly being refurbished and improved, as Anna explains: "The skaters have just secured a £5,000 investment to fix the roof. Also, backstage will be turned into a dance studio where people will come and hopefully hire the building and that will pay for the free sessions we can provide for other people."
The refurbishment of the dance studio and art gallery is in the process of being completed, and chiefs are planning to convert some areas into multi-use rooms. The floor in the dance studio will be a Harlequin floor, which will make it suitable for martial arts classes and other activities.
Buszy is constantly improving its links with the community and other businesses and organisations in the area. Arts and Culture Manager, Danny Quinn, said: "The Fringe MK Arts Festival used this as a host venue so they launched a new online cinema project from here and they have also used this for other dance rehearsals or projects."
It has been a long road to turn a former nightclub into a new community building, as Anna explains: "When we got the keys to the building it was like a night had ended and everybody had just left. It was awful. We completely cleared the building and got the contractors in. The first stage that finished was the main reception area."
Buszy is an immense building project, however it is almost two-thirds of the way towards completion. When it is finished and fully established within the community a few years down the line, Milton Keynes will certainly have a centre to be proud of.
By NEIL SHEFFERD (University College Milton Keynes)