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Future is the first of three brand new Youth Zones set to open in London this year with OnSide Youth Zones investing an initial £20million in Barking and Dagenham, Barnet and Croydon with a further combined £4 million per year earmarked for operating costs.
During the visit to Future Youth Zone the Duke of Sussex met with young people from across Barking and Dagenham who have been involved in its development and took part in a number of activities including tag rugby alongside Sir Clive Woodward.
HRH Duke of Sussex was also joined by members of Barking and Dagenham (BAD) Youth Forum, BoxUpCrime and Youth Zone attendees as they shared their perspectives and experiences of knife crime.
The Duke of Sussex also watched performances by several young people and met young people from the OnSide London development group that have helped to develop all aspects of the London Youth Zones.
Bola Busari said: “It was amazing meeting Prince Harry, he is very down to earth and was very easy to talk to.
“He was asking me about me and my brother and how we can come to the Youth Zone together as well as everything I’ve done with the Youth Zone. Future is an amazing place and I’m so proud to be here.”
The Duke finished his visit by meeting Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, Cllr Darren Rodwell and key OnSide funders including Christopher Coombe of The Queen’s Trust, Sir Jack Petchey of the Jack Petchey Foundation, Simon Morgan of Vistra representing The Seroussi Foundation and Rt Hon The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of the City of London, Peter and Lindy Estlin, before unveiling a plaque which he invited nine-year-old Araberesha Deda to help him with.
HRH The Duke of Sussex has previously visited several OnSide Youth Zone centres including those in Wigan and most recently in Birkenhead in January this year with The Duchess. He also hosted a reception for the charity at Kensington Palace alongside David Walliams.
Each Youth Zone houses an indoor climbing wall, 3G kick pitch, dance and drama studio, music room with recording studio, fully equipped gym, arts and crafts room, enterprise and employability suite, martial arts studio, training kitchen and much more.
OnSide Youth Zones’ innovative multi-sector funding model combines funding from local authorities, philanthropists, businesses, charitable grants and revenues generated by the Youth Zones themselves.
John Roberts, Chairman of the Executive Board of OnSide Youth Zones said: “It was a pleasure to welcome HRH Duke of Sussex to Future Youth Zone to see the fantastic facility that’s been created.
“We provide state-of-the-art spaces for young people to spend their leisure time which give them somewhere safe and inspiring to make friends and engage with excellent role models.
“We are extremely grateful for the support we’ve received from local councils, businesses, philanthropists and key members of local communities without which none of this would be possible and we look forward to developing the network across the country.”
With a network of ten Youth Zones currently open in Bolton, Blackburn, Carlisle, Wigan, Manchester, Oldham, Warrington, Wolverhampton, Wirral and Chorley, this year will see the OnSide Youth Zone’s current reach of over 40,000 young people raise to 52,000 young people by the end of the year.