Belfast Telegraph

Cheryl backing for youth centre

Cheryl Fernandez-Versini has returned home to Newcastle to announce plans for a multi-million pound facility for disadvantaged young people in the region.

The singer and X-Factor judge spent time at a Prince's Trust centre in her home city and said she'd found the visit really inspiring.

Along with the charity and her own foundation, Cheryl's Trust, she hopes to raise the money for the new centre that will help around 4,000 youngsters a year.

She said she has various fundraising events in mind and fully intends on asking fellow judge Simon Cowell to chip in.

"This has been something I've had in my mind passionately for the past three or four years," she said.

"I have tried various ways of opening a centre, that was my dream, but I've been rejected a lot for various reasons. So today I wanted to come and possibly look for a centre and talk to the people that have been through the programme and see what is achievable.

"It's been amazing and really inspiring, also motivating and even more than I was before because I've seen what this facility has created for people here."

The 31-year-old said Newcastle would always have a special place in her heart and growing up she could easily have been one of the young people using the centre.

"This is a special place in my heart, for various reasons, when I think about it I could have had a very different life. I could have been one of the people here and I was very fortunate to have even a career for this long.

"It's a very special thing to do and I feel fortunate that I've got the profile able to raise the awareness it needs.

"I have some very exciting events coming up but I can't tell you, I wish I could, but the North East will be excited to get behind them. And Simon is going to be asked, you can bet your bottom dollar on that one. I'll let you know if he does or if he doesn't."

The centre will look to support vulnerable young people and include the opening of a new music studio and a state-of-the-art digital media hub and Cheryl said once this one is up and running her dream is to open similar facilities all around the country.

Martina Milburn CBE, chief executive of The Prince's Trust, said: "I am truly inspired by Cheryl's passion and determination to help young people who are the most disengaged from society - especially those who are battling drug and alcohol addiction.

"We know that Cheryl is genuinely passionate about this cause, and over the years she's met a number of the young people we support at The Prince's Trust.

"As a charity, The Prince's Trust relies on generous support from individuals and organisations. The Centre will change thousands of lives each year and I'd like to thank Cheryl for her generosity."

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