Bristol is to become home to the South West’s first OnSide Youth Zone after the City Council’s Cabinet agreed to support proposals at a meeting last night.
At the meeting Councillors gave the go ahead for the project, which will be delivered by the national youth charity OnSide Youth Zones, in strategic partnership with local youth work organisation Youth Moves and the Council. Youth Zones are safe, aspirational places for young people aged 8-19, or up to 25 for those with additional needs, to go in their leisure time.
Youth Moves will continue to operate as an independent, local charity and will take on the operation of the new Youth Zone which will be built upon OnSide’s successful Youth Zone model, replicating 14 similar Youth Zones operating across the country.
Young people will be able to access over 20 activities every night. These range from sports such as football, boxing and climbing, to creative arts, music, drama and employability training – all for just 50p per visit.
The Youth Zone will cost £8.4million to build and last night Bristol City Councillors pledged to contribute half of that amount as well as £400,000 towards the charity’s annual £1.3million running costs.
OnSide has committed to raising the remaining development costs and will fundraise for the first three years from a combination of private sector contributions and accessing charitable trusts and grants.
Kathryn Morley, Chief Executive for OnSide Youth Zones, said: “The Council’s decision to support plans for a Youth Zone in South Bristol is wonderful news that will transform thousands of young lives. This is an historic moment for OnSide as we begin work on the first South West Youth Zone. Youth Moves has a well-earned reputation for supporting young people in the area and will help to maximise collaborative opportunities. We are delighted to partner with them to develop South Bristol Youth Zone.”
Youth Moves is a Bristol based charity which aims to inspire young people through delivering outstanding youth work.
Commenting on the news, their CEO Alistair Dale said: “Youth Moves has been working across South Bristol delivering youth work and championing the impact that great youth work makes for over 15 years. In this time, we have worked with thousands of young people and supported them on their journeys to adulthood. So, we are delighted to be partnering with OnSide to bring this world-class youth work facility to South Bristol, which we know will make a huge difference to the lives of so many young people and to the wider community. This is especially important at this time to show young people and the area that we are investing in their futures, and to enable us to reach many more young people in the years to come.”
Three potential sites for the Youth Zone have been identified. Once selected, the land will be gifted to the Youth Zone by Bristol City Council and OnSide will begin the process of submitting a planning application.
Councillor Helen Godwin, Cabinet Member for Women, Families and Homes and Lead Member For Children’s Services at Bristol City Council, said: “The new Youth Zone planned for Bristol is one of the best things to happen to the children and young people in our city for years, and is great outcome for South Bristol.
“We know that the past year has been really hard on children, young people and their families and has negatively impacted their mental health and resilience, and that nationally, a lack of investment in youth services has also resulted in a lack of affordable and meaningful activities for our children and young people. So the decision today to approve the funding for the new Youth Zone – the first in the South West – is great news for Bristol, including our strong network of existing youth services and organisations, as well as our schools, who can work together to offer a world class youth service to the children and young people who are the future of our city.”
Local young people will be put at the heart of the project from the start with OnSide working alongside Youth Moves to set up a Young People’s Development Group which will make several key decisions for the Youth Zone, from branding the Youth Zone through to interviewing potential staff members.