THE YMCA has unveiled the building it plans to use for Southend’s first free school.

The charity plans to convert the iconic Ticket House in East Street into a school for 50 vulnerable teenagers, the Echo can exclusively reveal.

The Department for Education has approved funding to convert the former Essex Yeomanry building and the charity only has to pass a few final checks before opening in September.

Chief executive Syrie Cox said: “It’s wonderful that we have been approved and we have got this far. It has been a lot of work.

“If you see it as a race, we can see the final line, and the finishing tape!

“When the school is open we will try to build on its success, it’s relationships with the community and local employers.”