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Preston Youth Zone launches Founder Patron campaign with BAE Systems confirmed

11th December 2023 by OnSide

Preston Youth Zone has reached a key stage in its development and has officially launched its Founder Patron campaign.

An event was held at BAE Systems to mark the launch of the campaign, with BAE Systems announced as the first patron to support Preston Youth Zone. As a Founder Patron, BAE Systems will make a £350,000 donation towards the charity from now until 2028, which will help the new Youth Zone provide first class facilities, opportunities and support for thousands of young people living in Preston and beyond.

Expected to open in 2025, the Youth Zone will be located in the town centre on the corner of Crooked Lane and Tithebarn Street. Preston Youth Zone will be open to young people aged 8-19, and up to 25 for those with additional needs, 7 days a week.

For just £5 annual membership, plus 50p per visit, young people will have access to world class facilities including 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 mentoring 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 Preston’s young people to thrive. It will create a number of full and part-time jobs and many volunteering opportunities.

We are delivering Preston Youth Zone in partnership with Preston City Council and Preston Towns Fund Board who will be contributing towards the building and running costs. In March it was confirmed that the Youth Zone has secured all of its building costs and focus remains on raising the remainder of the running costs which will come from private sector and philanthropic donations, including a contribution from Preston City Council and the Towns Fund.

The revenue campaign is off to a flying start with BAE Systems committing to supporting the charity through until 2028. This isn’t the first time BAE Systems has supported a Youth Zone as they are a long-standing patron of Blackburn & Darwen Youth Zone and have helped develop their “Maker Suite” which allows for young people to use 3D printers and more recently helped them establish an Eco-Lab a that project aims to provide our young people with the skills and knowledge to thrive in a green economy.

BAE Systems Senior Air Board Member and proud Prestonian Dave Holmes said:

“Being part of a community is important to us. This means playing an active part in making the areas we operate and live in better places and given our long and proud link with the city, which is located between our two Lancashire sites employing approximately 10,000 people, we wanted to work with the Youth Zone and support the young people of Preston. Ensuring Preston’s youngsters have a safe, inspiring and educational place to call home is really important and we’re delighted to help Preston Youth Zone on this journey over the next few years. We would really encourage local business to get involved with Preston Youth Zone.”

Guy Topping, Preston Youth Zone Chair commented on the partnership with BAE Systems saying:

“We are thrilled to welcome BAE Systems as the first patron of Preston Youth Zone. We are delighted to work in partnership with a renowned local business that does a lot of valuable work to support young people and their future employability. Every penny of their generous gift will directly benefit young people from Preston and beyond, for years to come.”

Councillor Matthew Brown, Leader of Preston City Council said:

“Preston Youth Zone is being made possible thanks to a partnership between Onside, the Council, young people and the support of local businesses such as BAE Systems as a leading Founder Patron. It is important that our young people will have somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk to.

“We encourage more local businesses and philanthropists to become part of Preston’s Youth Zone Founder Patron’s Family, to contribute to its annual running costs for the benefit of our young people and help to make a life changing difference to those that need support the most.”

Once opened, Preston Youth Zone will join our network of 14 similar youth centres (we call them Youth Zones) supporting over 55,000 young people. It will be an independent charity with a private-sector led board.

Planning permission for Preston Youth Zone was granted in July and work is set to begin on site in the new year.

A group of local young people are currently being brought together to support with the development of the Youth Zone prior to opening, including helping to come up with the name and brand of the Youth Zone.

We continue to raise the remainder of the first three years’ running costs for Preston Youth Zone and urges local businesses and philanthropists to join the Founder Patron family. If you would like to support young people living in Preston and beyond, please contact: Jim Fieldsend jim.fieldsend@onsideyouthzones.org.

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