A youth club will be opening in a village which has been plagued by anti-social youth behaviour, hoping to build relationships between youths and the community.

Burnley Boys and Girls Club (BBGC), which was founded in 1898, will be opening a new centre in Whalley Abbey on April 12, welcoming children aged 8 to 18.

Centre manager of BBGC, Graham Vernon said that the club has already made a change to the community and that the youths in Whalley are misunderstood and lack anything to do.

He said: "We all know kids are going to do it so let's work together on this.

"Let's not go out there and confront young people with a negative attitude.

"Let's try and be supportive as we can and with that little element of support, then the young people start being supportive of the residents and respectful.

"As they always say to me 'But Graham, respect is a two way street' and I say 'of course it is absolutely'.

"They are feeling targeted and they are feeling vulnerable because the residents are at their wits end and I completely understand and sympathise with all of that."

The group will be open seven days a week from 6pm, with a variety of activities available including football, basketball, netball to hockey as well as games for the younger children at the sport centre at Queen Elizabeth's gardens.

For the teenagers, Graham plans to provide new skills, with a project to bring the abbey back to life in a virtual fashion, using virtual imagery through a mobile phone camera so you can see the choir stalls and other aspects of the building which have deteriorated over the years.

Graham hopes that the young people will be interested in helping with minor restoration work on the abbey and becoming detectives to find some of the 'lost buildings' on the abbey site.

In August 2020, officers introduced a mobile police station the abbey after receiving reports of large groups youths gathering in large numbers, drinking, smoking, taking drugs and frightening older residents of the town.

Police and Graham from BBGC are hopeful that the youth club with bring an end to this behaviour by providing something for the young people to do whilst providing aspirations.

PCSO Coffey said: "Burnley Boys and Girls Club have worked alongside Whalley Abbey and Ribble Valley Council to provide our community with a safe space for our youths to use and engage with the community.

"Speaking with the organisers they have some great ideas for bringing the community together and engaging in projects to benefit our beautiful surroundings."