Youth Zone at Home: OnSide's response to Covid-19

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Since 2008 we have raised millions of pounds of funding and developed partnerships within communities nationwide to establish a federated network of Youth Zones – each local, trusted, independent charities – and provide ongoing support to the Network to maximise the impact for young people.

We are proud that as a network we are changing lives and creating opportunities for young people in some of our most disadvantaged communities.

Here are some examples of the difference we have made together for young people and their communities.

It’s a life-changer, it’s really good, it makes you think.

As a network we have an incredible impact on young people

50k

young people supported by Youth Zones every year

650k

visits to Youth Zones per year

77%

of members are more self-confident

82%

of frequent attenders have more friends

73%

of members feel less isolated

70%

of members consider that they are healthier

89%

of members on free school meals feel happier about their lives

83%

of young people who completed the ‘Get a Job' programme progressed into work or further study

96%

of local stakeholders say Youth Zones help them achieve their objectives

£2.06

For every £1 spent on running the facilities, Youth Zones generate £2.06 of social value

OnSide’s vital work creating and supporting Youth Zones makes a real difference

£118m

raised by OnSide to 'start-up' new Youth Zones nationwide

1550

new jobs and volunteering opportunities created

97%

of local stakeholders say their area is better since their Youth Zone opened

483

youth workers and staff trained through our Talent Academy

£11m

raised to support programmes for young people nationwide

You can read more in our latest reports, or scroll through each of our 5 Network goals for young people.

Transforming Young Lives - Our Goals

Young people and their families tell us about the transformative impact of Youth Zones on their lives. We conducted independent research to quantify this impact against our 5 Network goals.

Goal 1

Give young people exciting, safe places to connect and grow.

See the outcomes

Goal 2

Help young people to lead healthier, happier lives.

See the outcomes

Goal 3

Enable young people to better face the challenges of life.

See the outcomes

Goal 4

Support young people to raise their aspirations and fulfil their potential.

See the outcomes

Goal 5

Stronger communities with empowered, active, caring citizens.

See the outcomes

A Strong Network

As well as establishing Youth Zones across the country that have a lasting positive impact on young people and the wider community, we also provide ongoing support to the Network of open Youth Zones, across almost every aspect of operations. This support helps them to have an ever-greater impact on the lives of young people and build strong, foundations for the future.

We work together to drive excellence and harness the skills, experience and innovation that exists within Youth Zones and OnSide so that Youth Zones continuously improve what they offer young people. OnSide’s Talent Academy – our unique, central training and development programme – is a clear demonstration of this.

Over £11m has been secured to develop and roll out innovative national programmes across the Network of Youth Zones which have a tangible impact on young people. For example over 1600 young people have completed our Get a Job employability course, with 83% progressing into employment, education or training

Putting young people first is one of our core values. We have advocated for young people and supported them to be heard and valued within society at a local and national level. We also support our Youth Zones to have a voice at a national level to influence decision makers, funders and policy.

We undertake robust research and evaluate impact on behalf of the Network to enable us to build our evidence base, better understand and communicate our impact and drive excellence.

The OnSide Network provides a supportive environment, continuous learning, shared knowledge and resources, enabling us to achieve excellence.


Talent Academy

It's been transformational, I’ll use everything I’ve learned.



The Talent Academy develops our people across the Network so they have the skills they need to inspire the next generation. To date we have:

  • Supported 45 frontline staff to achieve a Level 3 Diploma in Youth Work Practice in partnership with the National Youth Agency.
  • Established an Aspiring Leaders programme that recognises and develops outstanding performers, enhances organisational capability and grows tomorrow’s senior leaders. 87% have been promoted since completing the training.
  • Developed a Fundraising Academy which has equipped fundraisers with knowledge and skills to enhance stakeholder management and secure new funding partners.
  • Enhanced specialist skills through a series of bespoke masterclasses; including safeguarding training for 120 staff and volunteers, and governance training for 9 Youth Zone Boards.

It was great to look back on how I’ve developed & grown from the start of the OnSide Fundraising Academy to now; both as a fundraiser and personally. Thank you for having me on the course!

Get involved

Find out how you can help OnSide make a bigger impact.

Please fill out the form to the right, let us know how you would like to help and a member of the team will be in touch.

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