AFTER the terrifying riots in the Queensgate area of Burnley in 2001, mum-of-six Fran Monks decided it was time something was done to help tackle problems with anti-social behaviour in the area.
Fast forward 13 years and 47-year-old Fran runs The Fraser Street Project which provides a host of activities for around 200 local residents.
With funding from the county council, The Prince’s Charities, Tudor Trust and The Henry Smith Charity and various other bodies, it has transformed Brennand House in Fraser Street into a community hub.
The building now houses a music room, recording studio, youth zone, kitchen, conference room, dining room, computer room, office space and creche.
It has been credited with turning around the lives of local youngsters who were becoming involved in drugs and crime.
Fran has also arranged for police to speak to children at the centre after fears were sparked that girls were being targeted for grooming.
She said: “The riots happened on the street where I live, I have six children and it was honestly the scariest thing I have ever experienced. After that my initial reaction was to run away, but because of the children being at school I didn’t want to go.
“That’s when something clicked and I thought if I stay I will have to make it a better place for people to live. At that time I joined Burnley Lane Action Group after a meeting was called for residents following the disturbances.
“A lot of people at that time had been complaining about the children in the area being a nuisance, hanging around on street corners. But there was no where for them to go.”
Along with friend Amanda Chapman, she started taking groups of up to 30 youngsters in a minibus to a youth club at Brunshaw Action Group once a week.
But demand increased and after renting two other community centres to run a youth club, they moved into Brennand House. They now have a number of groups that run from the building including youth club sessions, beavers and cubs, an after-school club, a boys and girls club as well as a mums and tots group and work with Heasandford Primary School. But they now face a new challenge as they cannot afford the £28,000 costs to keep the building running. She said: “Unfortunately it looks like we will have to leave the building later in the year if no more funding comes forward.
“It is such a shame as £200,000 has been spent renovating the building as well as having numerous donations to get the building looking as it does now, but it costs £28,000 a year just to open the doors.”
Anyone wishing to donate money towards the running costs can contact Fran Monks on 01282 454433 .