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Stuart Manifould appointed Chief Executive of Crewe Youth Zone

20th May 2024 by OnSide

Crewe Youth Zone has welcomed Stuart Manifould as its new Chief Executive.

With construction soon to get underway, Stuart will lead the newly-formed charity as it recruits its team and continues its fundraising drive ahead of opening next year.

Crewe Youth Zone will be located on the Oak Street Car Park to the south of the town centre. 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.

Stuart joins the charity after a career dedicated to working with young people and supporting them to overcome barriers. His first position as a PE and maths teacher in Manchester sparked Stuart’s interest in working with young people from low socio-economic backgrounds and underrepresented groups.

He went on to become COO at Cheshire FA where, amongst his various responsibilities, he led on work to break down barriers for participation in football, primarily focusing on gaining investment to develop grassroots football opportunities, particularly for girls and young women.

Describing the appointment as his “dream job”, Stuart said:

“This is a role I have wanted from when I first heard of the plans three or four years ago. I’ve been involved with the development of Crewe Youth Zone since then and have helped to connect the team at OnSide with some of the local community youth groups, as this is something so desperately needed in Crewe.

“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to have a real, front-line impact on young people and I’m really, really excited about it. I have a passion for breaking down barriers and that’s something I’m really keen to bring into Crewe.”

As part of his role, Stuart is spending the first couple of months on placement at Wigan Youth Zone, an established Youth Zone in our growing national Network.

Crewe Youth Zone will be open seven days a week for young people aged between eight and 19, or up to 25 for those with additional needs – who will pay £5 annual membership and just 50p per visit. It is being supported by Cheshire East Council, the Crewe Town Board, various charitable trust and foundation grant funding bodies and the private sector. We are currently fundraising for the remainder of the annual running costs.

Commenting on the fundraising drive Stuart added:

“We want to work with businesses that are passionate about giving opportunities to young people. There are hundreds of businesses in Crewe who may not know about us yet and we’d welcome any conversations about how we can work together.

“The young people we’ll be working with, and whose lives will be changed for the better by Crewe Youth Zone, will be the business community’s future customers, employees and future leaders so it’s important we all come together to give them the best opportunities.

“As well as local businesses, we’re really excited to work alongside the other brilliant organisations that support young people in Crewe. We want Crewe Youth Zone to play a key role in the development of all young people and I’m really keen for us to work with existing charities and organisations to see how we can support and develop the current offer to ensure the young people of Crewe have access to high quality universal youth work and game changing opportunities.”

We have set up a Young People’s Development Group to help make a number of key decisions for the Youth Zone. The group, which meets weekly, will soon begin work on branding the charity, coming up with two names which will go to a public vote.

Stuart added:

“Historically young people are often dictated to and that doesn’t breed the trust we need. The fact that young people are front and centre of every decision we make is absolutely imperative.

“The Development Group is so important and is doing brilliant work already. I’m looking forward to seeing how the branding process progresses over the coming months.”

Crewe Youth Zone Chair Graham Ramsbottom said:

“We are delighted that Stuart has joined us to lead what is such an important project for the young people of Crewe. Stuart’s background, experience, passion and drive are well so well suited for the role and we are excited to be well underway to delivering this exciting Youth Zone.”

Young people who’d like to become part of the Development Group should email Chelsey.Roberts@creweyouthzone.org.