Youth Zone at Home: OnSide's response to Covid-19
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OnSide is a unique partnership of the private sector, local authority, young people and the community that forms a dynamic four-way, inter-connecting relationship, which drives the success of an OnSide Youth Zone.
Working by working in partnership, we have identified the challenges that need to be addressed in order to develop effective and sustainable youth services.
To reach our goal of helping young people we need to work in partnership.
Bill Holroyd CBE DL Chairman and Founder of OnSide
Each and every Youth Zone presents its own set of unique and intricate funding challenges.
A model of local ownership is a key success factor in ensuring the financial sustainability of each Youth Zone into the future. This all-important funding approach is split into two distinct areas of Capital and Revenue.
Unlike most youth provision, the private sector provides half of all funding for Youth Zones. This substantial investment allows a Youth Zone to provide the very best facilities and services for its users. Young people enjoy state-of-the-art facilities in the buildings that say ‘you deserve the best’, particularly for young people who would normally stay at home.
Businesses that invest in Youth Zones demand financial probity and transparency. As a result, management is continually focused on ensuring resources are allocated efficiently, with a demonstrable social return on investment. The business-focus and financial expertise local investors bring to the board are key drivers of sound financial planning, ensuring Youth Zones are sustainable in the long term.
In addition to investing in the very best facilities and services, OnSide is focused on designing Youth Zones around young people themselves, according to their own priorities. Young people are involved at every stage of a Youth Zones’ development, right through to its opening and thereafter. At the start of the process, a team of young people in convened to set a vision and direction for the Youth Zone. Supported by a professional design agency, they play a major role in the creation of the brand identity. Once open, young people are continually consulted on the activities available at their youth zone, which often leads to the introduction of interesting new sports and activities on the onset of whats popular.
Youth Zones are places young people want to be, where they are free to express themselves and that they miss when they’re at home.
Providing positive leisure time activities remains a statutory duty for local authorities, but, as budgets have tightened, the challenges outlined have become even more acute. OnSide provides a unique vehicle for the delivery of high quality, financially sustainable, results-driven youth facilities local young people can enjoy. By introducing private investment in combination with local authority support, OnSide combines facilities that foster a high level of general engagement with high quality targeted services that have a significant impact on individual groups and provide a platform for the delivery of other local health and education services.
Though all created in the OnSide image, Youth Zones are more than just a network of youth clubs – they are intimately connected to the local communities of which they are a part.
As a place where young people across the community convene, Youth Zones provide a vital platform for community groups and local services – including other youth service providers – to reach local young people. From inter-faith groups to the police and social services, Youth Zones host a number of different local services. They offer a setting for activities from one-to-one interventions with health services, to organised workshops with local groups, to table tennis matches between young people and local police. They help to break down barriers, reach isolated young people and foster cohesion within the community.
At the heart of each Youth Zone, making a positive difference to the lives of young people across the country, are the volunteers who generously give up their time to support their town’s young people.
Volunteering is brilliant for meeting new people, developing skills, gaining experience and giving something back. To find out how rewarding it can be, just ask one of 1000 volunteers from across the Youth Zone network!
To find out our volunteering opportunities get in touch with a Youth Zone near you!
Our 120-strong army of volunteers – they are the real heroes
Andy Gatcliffe, Chair of Warrington Youth Club