A multi-million pound bid for a new Youth Zone is set to be made to the Government.
Peterborough City Council’s Cabinet has agreed to apply for £8.7million of funding which would deliver a significant increase in youth provision in the city, offering a wide range of positive activities, personal development opportunities and support.
The application will be made to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport’s Youth Investment Fund, and if successful the hub will be delivered by OnSide – a national charity which has 14 Youth Zones within its network across the country.
Youth Zones are purpose built, state-of-the-art places for young people (including those most at risk) with trained youth workers running activities, mentoring sessions and advice and guidance with targeted support.
A typical Youth Zone runs seven evenings a week and has around 4,000 members with 100-250 young people visiting each evening. In Peterborough, it would help to tie in community youth provision which has become fragmented over recent years due to a shortage of government funding.
Youth Zones have an annual cost to run of £1.3 million pounds, and under the proposal OnSide would generate the vast majority of the money with philanthropic funding with the council’s contribution limited to £200,000 for seven years, beginning from April 2025.
The authority would also contribute £950,000 towards the building costs which is proposed also to come from external grant funding.
Cllr Lynne Ayres, cabinet member for children’s services, education, skills and the university, said:
“This is a chance to enhance the opportunities we can offer to all young people in Peterborough and shows our commitment to exploring existing initiatives which inspire young people to meet their own potential.
“We’ve put together a lot of work to prepare our initial funding bid, and we know OnSide has a proven track record of delivering successful Youth Zones in other areas. Peterborough is a priority area for this Government and we will await to hear if our bid has been successful.”
Peterborough Youth Council has also shown its support for the introduction of a Youth Zone, highlighting the benefits they have brought in other parts of the country in helping young people feel more engaged in their communities (which brings a reduction in crime and anti-social behaviour), learn new skills and find career opportunities, and improve their mental health.
It said: “We believe the positive impact of such a space in Peterborough would be priceless and would bring brighter presents, brighter futures and greater joy for young people across Peterborough.”
OnSide CEO Kathryn Morley said:
“We are delighted to have Peterborough City Council’s support on this important step towards delivering a Youth Zone for young people in the city. Youth Zones are inspirational places that provide young people with affordable activities and vital youth worker support seven days a week. We look forward to working with the Council as we progress with this exciting project.”