Preston Youth Zone has been awarded a £6.2million Youth Investment Fund grant to build the new state-of-the-art youth centre.
This means that the Youth Zone, which will be run as a new local charity once opened, has secured all of its building costs and will now focus on fundraising the remainder of its annual running costs, which will come from private sector and philanthropic contributions.
Subject to plans being approved, the Youth Zone is expected to open in late 2024 and will be built on the corner of Crooked Lane and Tithebarn Street, directly opposite the bus station. It will provide thousands of young people with opportunities to engage in activities and access support from skilled youth workers, helping them to develop their skills and reach their full potential.
We are delivering Preston Youth Zone in partnership with Preston City Council and the Towns Fund who will be contributing towards building and running costs. The Youth Investment Fund grant will also go towards the Youth Zone’s site preparation and pre-opening costs. Other key supporters of the project include the Eric Wright Charitable Trust.
Once opened, Preston Youth Zone will be an independent charity with a private-sector led board. It will be part of the OnSide Network of 14 Youth Zones nationwide, supporting over 50,000 young people. Youth Zones are open to young people aged between eight and 19 (up to 25 for those with additional needs), seven days a week, for just 50p a visit. Members will have access to an indoor climbing wall, four court sports hall, training kitchen, music room with a recording studio, fully equipped gym, dance and drama studio, 3G kick pitch, arts and crafts room, enterprise and employability suite.
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 Preston’s young people to thrive. It will create a number of full and part-time jobs as well as volunteering opportunities.
Preston Youth Zone is one of 43 youth services in England to benefit from the first wave of Youth Investment Fund grants, announced by the funder, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the charity Social Investment Business, who is delivering the grant programme in partnership with Key Fund, National Youth Agency and Resonance.
The Youth Investment Fund is part of the Government’s National Youth Guarantee to transform and level up opportunities for young people in England. The Youth Investment Fund, of over £300 million, aims to build, renovate, or extend youth service facilities, providing a minimum of 45,000 additional positive activities for young people between 11 and 18 – in the parts of the country where new spaces and new opportunities are most needed.
Our Chief Executive, Jamie Masraff, said:
“We are hugely grateful to the Government for this incredible boost to support Preston’s young people and their futures. Times are tough for young people in many ways so this funding comes at a crucial time and will enable thousands of young people in challenging circumstances to benefit from life-changing support available through Preston Youth Zone”
Guy Topping, Chair of Preston Youth Zone said:
“This is a huge deal for Preston Youth Zone, the partnership behind the project and Preston’s young people, as we now have all of the funds to cover the building costs and can turn our attention to fundraising the remainder of the running costs. This major investment will provide young people with incredible opportunities to find their voice, increase their confidence and gain new skills. I want to thank OnSide for their continued support and the DCMS for showing their belief in the Youth Zone and Preston’s young people.”
Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said:
“I want every young person to have the opportunity to access the kinds of life-changing activities which expand their horizons and allow them to develop vital life skills.
The National Youth Guarantee will provide these opportunities and support young people with access to regular club activities, adventures away from home and volunteering opportunities.
We are supporting this today with an investment to create or renovate spaces for youth clubs and activities to support opportunities for thousands of young people across the country who would otherwise miss out.”
Adrian Phillips, Chief Executive of Preston City Council said,
“It has been an ambition of the city to see a Youth Zone in Preston for over 10 years, in various different guises, and so we are delighted to finally see the funding to build the scheme secured and this significant project move forward to the key stage of development. The project will make a big difference to the youth provision in the city and fill a big gap that has been missing for a long time, as a result of austerity measures and we are delighted to offer our support. The purpose-built, modern facility will give our young people somewhere safe to hang out and have fun, learn new skills, access help with jobs, training and employment and make new friends.”
Chair of the Town Deal Board John Chesworth said,
“ This is fantastic news for the youth provision in Preston which will make a positive change to the city centre. When the Preston Towns Fund board first met over three years ago, we thought it presented an excellent opportunity to at last deliver a Youth Zone for Preston. It is testament to the hard work and dedication of Guy Topping chair of Preston Youth Zone board and Onside the project lead working really closely and effectively with Preston City Council. It is one of the key Towns Fund projects in the extensive £200m regeneration and investment programme of the city’s Cultural Heritage Quarter, an important part of Preston’s wider strategic vision of the city (City Investment Plan), and one that has the potential to make the biggest difference to our young people.”
OnSide submitted a planning application for the Youth Zone in November, if successful, work is due to start on site in October. For further updates on progress, visit: www.onsideyouthzones.org/youth-zones/preston-youth-zone/