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Barnsley Youth Zone to be first of its kind in Yorkshire

18th August 2021 by OnSide

Exciting plans for a state-of-the-art OnSide Youth Zone, funded by Barnsley Council and corporate and private sponsors including the town’s largest private employer, ASOS, were approved by Barnsley Council’s Cabinet earlier today. 

A multimillion-pound OnSide Youth Zone will be built in Barnsley Town Centre on the Eastern Gateway, near to Schwabisch Gmund Way, Harborough Hill Road and Mottram Street. The brand-new Youth Zone will be a safe and inspiring place, giving thousands of young people from Barnsley the opportunity to discover their talents, develop their skills and reach their full potential.  

Barnsley Youth Zone will run as an independent charity with a local board of trustees and will be open seven days a week, with more than 20 activities on offer every session for young people aged 8-19, or up to 25 for those with additional needs. 

For just £5 annual membership, plus 50p per visit, young people will have access to a four-court sports hall, 3G outdoor kick pitch, gym and boxing and martial arts room for sports, as well as a music room with a built in recording studio, arts and crafts area, climbing wall, dance studio, sensory room, and teaching kitchen. The Youth Zone will deliver skills and employability workshops in a dedicated enterprise and employability suite, as well as a wide range of programmes, services and activities. Hot, nutritious meals will be available for just £1 from the Youth Zone’s café.  

In addition to the incredible facilities, trained youth workers and dedicated volunteers will be available 7 days a week to offer guidance and support to help Barnsley’s young people to thrive. It will create up to 70 full and part time jobs and up to 100 volunteering opportunities. 

The Youth Zone is being delivered by OnSide, a national charity that believes all young people should have the opportunity to discover their passion and their purpose. OnSide develops state-of-the-art, multimillion-pound Youth Zones in communities nationwide, in unique partnerships between young people and their communities, local authorities and private business supporters.  

It will cost an estimated £9.2 million to build, funded by a combination of public and private sector contributions. Barnsley Council will contribute £4.5 million towards construction costs and ASOS, one of the world’s leading online fashion retailers, will contribute £1.2 million to the project as its first corporate sponsor, with £300,000 going towards the Youth Zone’s capital costs and the remaining investment funding revenue costs for three years. OnSide is committed to generating the remaining construction costs. 

As the first Youth Zone in Yorkshire, the centre will be part of the growing, and successful OnSide Network, joining 14 similar Youth Zones across the UK including three in London, two in Manchester, and several across the midlands and North West. 

Kathryn Morley, Chief Executive of  OnSide, said:

“Youth Zones are inspiring places that provide opportunities, raise aspirations, enhance prospects and improve health and wellbeing for young people. The support of the public and private sector is integral to a Youth Zone’s success. We are delighted that Barnsley Council is supporting the development of Yorkshire’s first OnSide Youth Zone, alongside the generous support from ASOS as our first corporate partner. 

“They both join a growing movement of partners who believe that how we treat the next generation defines who we are as a society. Their generous commitment and vision will benefit thousands of young people for many years to come.” 

Cllr Tim Cheetham, Cabinet Spokesperson for regeneration and culture, said:

“We want the very best for our young people, and that’s why we and our partners are all investing in a state of the art youth facility and iconic hub which will benefit the health, wellbeing and development of all existing and future generations of young people in the borough while also complementing the wider regeneration of our inclusive town centre. 

“Our vision is for Barnsley to be the Place of Possibilities, and The Youth Zone creates opportunities for young people to meet new people, make new friends, build positive relationships with supportive adults, all while learning new skills. All of this will help build the confidence they need to grow into happy, healthy and successful young adults.”  

Nick Beighton, CEO at ASOS, added: 

“We have a longstanding relationship with the people of Barnsley as the town’s largest private employer, and we’re thrilled to be able to give back to the community and support the work of OnSide. Our purpose is to give people the confidence to be whoever they want to be, so having the opportunity to work alongside the charity and Barnsley Council in championing young people to reach their full potential is a real honour for us. We’re really looking forward to watching the Youth Zone come to life and to seeing the benefits it will bring to people’s lives.” 

Local young people will have the opportunity to get involved in helping to shape their new Youth Zone. Working in partnership with the council and existing providers, OnSide will set up a Young People’s Development Group, working with our existing Youth Council and our SEND network. The group will meet regularly to make key decisions for the Youth Zone, including supporting with design, naming the Youth Zone, deciding on its branding, and interviewing potential staff members.