Youth Charity OnSide Youth Zones is making great progress in the capital with its first three London Youth Zones set to open next year, including one in Croydon.
Costing £6m to build, the world class youth facility will be located where Whitehorse Road meets Boulogne Road, close to the Selhurst area of the borough.
Croydon Council has supplied the site and has already committed to funding £3.25m towards the capital cost as well as an additional £300k per year as part of the £1m annual revenue costs.
The young people of Croydon have also shown their excitement and enthusiasm for the Youth Zone. A record number of votes were cast in an OnSide branding process with nearly 3,000 having their say in determining the facility will be named Legacy Youth Zone.
OnSide Youth Zones, the charity behind the project, has a remarkable track record in the North West and the Midlands of building world class youth facilities that give young people somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk to. Costing just £5 for an annual membership, Youth Zones are places where all young people feel valued, they have a voice, they work and play together and they have developed respect and tolerance for those form different walks of life.
Youth Zones offer 20 activities each night ranging from football, climbing and curling to nail art, DJ-ing, drama and employability training and entry is just 50p.
The aim of Youth Zones is to raise the aspirations, enhance prospects and improve health and wellbeing for young people, by providing affordable access to a wide range of programmes, services and activities.
The charity has been working with London young people for almost two years already, establishing development groups in each of the three Youth Zone boroughs as well as an ambassador group consisting of young people from all across the city. They work on topics such as branding, with each Youth Zone having its own specific name chosen by them. Barking and Dagenham Youth Zone will be named Future, while Barnet will be home to Unitas.
Collaboration is key when it comes to OnSide developing Youth Zones and the support of the local authority is vital, with it needed for them to supply the site and contributions to both the £6m capital and annual £1m revenue costs. OnSide is committed to acquiring the rest of the funding from a mixture of charitable trusts and grants and the private sector.