Charity targets construction of 100 youth zones

Adam Offord
Thursday, July 7, 2016

A charity that aims to provide young people with "21st century youth clubs" wants to establish 100 within the next generation.

Youth charity OnSide has established seven youth zones across the country since 2008, and has plans in place to expand this figure to 20 over the next four years.

But Rob Carter, deputy chief executive of OnSide Youth Zones and lead in delivery of new youth zones, told CYP Now the youth charity has a vision to create 100 clubs within the next generation. ??

"A starting point would be that we would want one in every town and city in the UK, and you would in an ideal world because we believe that these are facilities that young people should have the opportunity to attend," he said.

??"Our target for the moment is to just create 100 youth zones in the next generation.

??"Internally we'll have a view as to how close we can do that over the coming years and decades, but that is the current vision because we believe that all young people, especially those who are most disadvantaged, should be able to access these [youth clubs]."

Youth zones aim to provide eight- to 19-year-olds, and those aged up to 25 with a disability, with seven-day access to a broad range of youth, sports, arts, health and employment services.

?A number of sites are currently in the pipeline and at different stages of development. Wirral youth zone is due for completion in February 2017, while Chorley youth zone is currently out to tender for a contractor to enable the build programme to begin, and Preston youth zone is "in advanced stage of design".

??Warrington Youth Club, which was established in 1952, is also joining the network, and three youth zones in London - Barking and Dagenham, Barnet and Croydon - are in early stages of development.

In December 2015, OnSide also entered discussions over creating a Sunderland youth zone.

??In addition, Carter said the charity is in "early negotiations" to "move into several other areas" but could not reveal where.

"In an ideal world you would work down the list of the most deprived areas and try to deliver sequentially, but of course it doesn't work like that," he added. ??"It works in ways that reflect the partners and the local authority in particular and their ability to commit to the project."

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