David Cameron officially opened Wigan Youth Zone on Thursday 8 August 2013, describing it as one of his ‘proudest days as Prime Minister’.
In front of crowd of young people, supporters and Youth Zone volunteers, he said: “To be here to actually see this facility open gives me a tremendous amount of pride. It is a great day for Wigan who can now say they have the biggest youth club in the country.” Mr Cameron originally visited the town several years ago to discuss plans for the facility with Wigan Athletic Chairman, David Whelan.
The Prime Minister stayed at Wigan Youth Zone for more than two hours playing table football, helping young people on the facility’s 10m climbing wall and chatting with the young members. In the state of the art gym he met Andrea Bianchi, UK Director of Technogym, who gifted all the fitness equipment to the facility straight from the London 2012 Olympic Village. He also met with founder patrons, the Mayor of Wigan, Councillor Billy Rotherham, and Chairman of the Premier League, Anthony Fry.
Richard Scudamore, Premier League Chief Executive, said: “Wigan Athletic has a fantastic reputation for community development delivery and now the club is set to become an even more important hub thanks to the Wigan Youth Zone. That is what Premier League Community Facility Fund is all about, providing sports facilities that reinvigorate communities.”
Wigan Youth Zone was the brainchild of Founder Patrons David Whelan, Martin Ainscough and Bill Ainscough who each gave generous donations to ensure the project got off the ground. Wigan Council further supported the gesture by gifting the land for the facility and agreeing to support the facility’s running costs for the next three years. Wigan Youth Zone is also supported by charity OnSide who gave their expertise and consultancy advice on how to set up the facility.
Simon Baker, Wigan Youth Zone Development Manager, said: “Today has been a great day to inspire young people and make them realise just what they can achieve in life. Our official opening has been years in the making and we thank not only Mr Cameron for coming down but also our patrons, volunteers, staff and of course the young people.”
Wigan Youth Zone opened on 8 June 2013 and already has 6,000 young members who enjoy the facility. Wigan Youth is open to all young people aged 8-19 for just £5 membership a year and 50p entry per visit. For more information go to www.wiganyouthzone.org or call 01942 612061.