PA funding helps transform dilapidated Valletta historic property into welcoming youth centre

An 18th-century dilapidated historic building in Triq Ursula has been restored and meticulously converted into a youth centre for the Capital City’s young people


An 18th-century dilapidated historic building in Triq Ursula, which in the 1950s served as the Blood bank and headquarters of the Order of the Knights of St John, has been restored and meticulously converted into a youth centre for the Capital City’s young people.

The project, which fully benefitted from Planning Authority funds, was launched by Teen Klabb co-ordinator Maurizio Lapira in the presence of Minister for the Environment, Climate Change & Planning Hon. Aaron Farrugia, the PA’s Executive Council’s Chairperson Martin Saliba and the Parish Priest of the St.Paul’s Shipwreck Church, Fr. David Cilia.

Carried out in three phases, the works related to the project and for which the Planning Authority funded close to €550,000 included intense restoration on the property’s façade and renovation works on the courtyard, masonry staircase, cellar, Sala Nobile and the cleaning of the walls and ceilings. The project also included the installation of mechanical and electrical services, installation of new bathrooms, a lift and steel bridges connecting different areas of the building.

Martin Saliba, Chairperson of the Planning Authority’s Executive Council, said “over the past years the PA has been at the forefront of supporting community urban projects through the development planning fund. We are proud to have supported this project in its entirety. We not only saw its potential but more importantly the commitment and professionality with which this NGO, under the auspices of the Parish Church, executed the restoration and rehabilitation of this building which will now serve to improve the social and community life of youth living within and around the areas of Valletta.”

Mr Saliba concluded “we are all aware of the difficulties and pressures youth are facing and this place is one of the key remedies, as it will provide them with a safe space to develop the skills needed for responsible adulthood and active citizenship. Here they will be provided with spiritual values and academic support that will help them reject negative peer pressure and boredom.”

Centru Santu Rokku, which today is Church property, was possibly a property firstly owned by a wealthy family. The property was built according to the traditional style of the time, having a large open courtyard with a generously proportioned staircase leading to the upper levels, including the Sala Nobile, whilst a stone spiral staircase connects the back rooms on all floors and was most likely intended for use by the servants of the household. In the 18th century, it was owned by one of the foundations of the ‘Soladita Dei Preti’, ‘Naves’.

In the 1990s the parish initiated its pastoral work from this premises to serve the community of the area and its surroundings. Over the recent years, the property began to be used as a makeshift youth centre, known as Teen Klabb. Teen Klabb was launched by Tabgha Foundation.

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