CULTURE minister Ed Vaizey MP visited a Tottenham arts centre on Wednesday to see first-hand how creative pursuits were helping to transform lives.

The junior minister caught the Tube to the Bernie Grant Arts Centre, the legacy of late Tottenham MP Bernie Grant whose dream was to create a cultural hub in the heart of the area to create opportunities through the arts.

Seven years after his death in 2000, the centre, in Town Hall Approach Road, opened and has steadily been catching the hearts and minds of young people who flock to the centre for to explore their love of the creative arts at its dance studios, or working behind the scenes as light and sound engineers.

The minister said: "What I have seen today is fantastic. It is a working example of how a community space can bring opportunities to the many people who want to work in creative industries."

Mr Vaizey, chaperoned by Mr Grant's widow Sharon Grant, spent time touring the on-site Enterprise Building which houses 19 businesses driven by young people ranging from arts, floristry, media, tailoring and jewellery-making supported by the London Youth Support Trust (LYST) who provide advice to the fledgling businesses.

He also spoke with some of the 56 young people who have secured employment at the centre through the now-defunct Future Jobs Fund introduced under Labour, but scrapped by the coalition Government.

Josh Samuels, 20, of Tottenham, was unemployed for seven months before getting a job at the centre as a receptionist.

He said: "To be honest with you, I don't feel like a man if I'm not making money, so it was hard to be out of work for so long. Sometimes you get the interviews, but then you don't have the right manner they are looking for. Sometimes you don't have the experience.

"Being here is a cool environment. I am grateful for the opportunity and the training, but it's disappointing to know that a new group of young people will not be able to follow behing me now the fund has been cut."

Mr Vaizey, who also happens to be the minister for fashion, pledged to return to the centre for an upcoming fashion show.

And although the Future Job Fund was not under his remit, the minster for culture,communications and creative industries said he would be happy to help the centre build links with the Arts Council and other bodies to improve funding.

Tottenham Green ward councillor Bernice Vanier said: "Bernie Grant Arts Centre is ideally located in the heart of Tottenham. It is slowly becoming the vibrant, cultural quarter we want it to be.

"Hopefully, Mr Vaizey will take away some of the positives he saw here and his visit will be a benefit to everybody."

The visit was organised by New Deal of the Mind who work with the Future Jobs Fund to find suitable placements for young people in the arts and whose ethos is to open doors for people from different cultural and economic backgrounds while tackling unemployment.