Ryde Town Council has announced the purchase of St Thomas’ Church, ensuring that this iconic Ryde building is protected and preserved for community use.

The process started at an extraordinary Full Council meeting in August 2020 where the purchase was agreed with contracts completed this week.

Ryde Town Council is working closely with a number of bodies so that the St Thomas Church building becomes a focal point for the community.

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Among other potential uses the building is seen as the natural next home for the fast-evolving youth service - Network Ryde who desperately need the extra space to cope with growing demand and to expand their offer to young people.

Young people are very much at the heart of this purchase and will be involved at each stage of the decision-making process to ensure that we develop a safe, welcoming and inclusive space for young people.

Bex Swan, Network Ryde Youth Services Manager, said: "We want to build on the legacy already (in place) at our current centre, 147, and enhance it.

"For example to have a confidential room for young people to meet with youth workers and agencies as well as a fully kitted out kitchen so we can cook with the produce from our allotment." 

Isle of Wight County Press: Ryde Town Mayor Michael LilleyRyde Town Mayor Michael Lilley

Ryde Mayor, Michael Lilley, added: "It is great news about Ryde Town Council now owning St Thomas’ Church which is an important part of our town’s heritage.

"It is even more fantastic that it is going to be used by young people and Ryde’s award-winning youth service Network Ryde.

"There is a real commitment to bring our neglected community and historic assets back into community ownership and productive use and this is an excellent example."