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Proposals to create a second OnSide Youth Zone in Manchester will be considered by Manchester City Council’s Executive on Wednesday 13 December.
The centre in Gorton, which would provide enriching leisure activities and support for children and young people in central and east Manchester seven days a week, would be part of the Onside Youth Zones network, which also includes the successful Factory Youth Zone in Harpurhey.
Youth Zones provide safe, inspiring places for young people to go in their leisure time – offering creative and sporting activities, plus support for their practical, social and emotional needs to help them grow into happier, healthier adults.
Subject to approval from the Executive and planning permission being granted, the new facility would be built on a site at the junction of Hyde Road and Queensland Road, which is currently owned by the council.
It is envisaged that the new Youth Zone would create up to 50 local full and part-time jobs, plus volunteering opportunities for members of the community, with local young people invited to help shape the development of the new facility.
Under the proposals, the council would contribute 20 per cent of the annual running costs of the facility for three years from 2020, plus capital support of £1.2m. An initial £6m in funding for the project has been provisionally pledged by an individual philanthropist, who wishes to support the social development of young people in Manchester.
Land for the development of the facility would be provided by the council for a peppercorn rent, on a long-term lease.
Executive Member for Schools, Culture and Leisure, Councillor Luthfur Rahman, said: “Building on the success of the Factory Youth Zone, the proposed new Youth Zone for Gorton has the potential to help young people from across central and east Manchester as they develop into adulthood, providing a world-class facility where quality educational and recreational opportunities will be available to them seven days a week.
“Making this investment in the future of our young people will strengthen the regeneration of east Manchester, while providing young Mancunians with new opportunities to express themselves creatively, raise their aspirations and develop their talents.”
Kathryn Morley, Chief Executive for OnSide Youth Zones, added: “We’re delighted that these proposals are being considered by Manchester City Council, along with the support already shown by generous philanthropic individuals.
“Our innovative and sustainable financial model has been replicated in many towns and cities across the UK and we hope that permission for the East Manchester Youth Zone will be another successful chapter in supporting young people who deserve access to even more services which encourage and develop employability skills and a healthier, more active lifestyle.”
You can read Manchester City Council’s full proposed executive meeting report here.