Take a look inside

Take a Look Inside...

We’d love to show you around a local Youth Zone, allowing you to see for yourself the impact that these centres make. Simply fill in your details below and a member of the team will be in touch to arrange a visit.

Take a Virtual Tour

I agree to my data being kept in accordance with the Privacy Policy.

Please keep me updated on OnSide news and updates by email, post, SMS, phone or other electronic means. OnSide will always treat your personal details with the utmost care and will never sell them to other companies for marketing purposes.


Nurturing Creativity in Young People

2nd April 2024 by Jamie Masraff, Chief Executive, OnSide

In today’s digitally dominated world, providing in-person opportunities to nurture the creative potential of young minds is more crucial than ever. Art and creative activities offer so many benefits to young people – from supporting mental wellbeing and enabling expression and communicating emotions to simply providing an opportunity for focus and mindfulness. Art and creativity can also help young people develop valuable skills like creative and critical thinking and problem-solving, which can have wider benefits in other areas like academic performance. My blog this month explores this topic, and the importance of partnerships, like we have with Burberry through the Burberry Inspire Programme, to nurture creativity in young people.

Despite its value, traditional subjects have always been prioritised over creative ones. It’s concerning that while there’s a push for English and Maths to become compulsory subjects up until the 18, tighter budgets and teacher shortages mean fewer and fewer pupils can study creative subjects. It’s unsurprising that since 2010, there’s been a 40% drop in the number of students taking arts GCSEs.

On top of this, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for young people to access creative arts out of school, as demonstrated by our Generation Isolation research, which showed that over a quarter of young people have stopped extra-curricular activities like music and dance because of the cost-of-living crisis.

The UK’s thriving creative industry brings in £109 billion to the economy and provides over three million jobs. Yet we are in danger of choking off the supply of bright, creative minds to sustain and grow this industry. There’s also a significant risk that, if access to creative subjects in and outside of education continues to disappear, careers in creative industries will become more inaccessible, especially for those from disadvantaged backgrounds. More than ever, young people need access to opportunities to unlock their creativity.

There is a huge variety of creative activities for young people to try across our Network. Many Youth Zones have had pottery studios installed and now run clay-based sessions thanks to funds donated by FiredUp4, a fundraiser led by potter Kate Malone that gives members a chance to try their hand at a craft that isn’t accessible to all.

Working with partners is a crucial way to provide even more experiences and opportunities to members. An incredible example of this is our partnership with Burberry, which, through its Burberry Inspire programme, is giving young people the chance to explore their creativity, and enables them to develop valuable life skills. Each of our 14 Youth Zones is running different creative projects over the next three years, from producing music to fashion shows, jewellery making, and enterprise activities. Who knows what passions and careers may be sparked by these projects? What I do know is that all young people deserve to pursue their creative dreams wherever they may take them, and we need to be actively removing barriers and ensuring no path is beyond their reach.

Useful links

Sign Up to the onside newsletter

If you'd like to keep updated by email on news and events from the OnSide network fill in your details below and we will add you to our mailing list.