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Our passionate Youth Zone Ambassadors self-labled ‘Game Changers’ united in the capital at Saturday’s One Borough Community Day, to help spread the news that Barking and Dagenham will be the first borough in London to develop their own OnSide Youth Zone.
The Council’s Cabinet unanimously backed proposals for the state-of-the-art £6million youth facility at a meeting held last week – marking the starting point for the project.
Part of the celebrations on Saturday saw around 30 ‘Youth Zone Ambassadors’ from the North West join their London counterparts at the proposed site of the Youth Zone in Parsloes Park, to engage with local young people about the opportunities that the Youth Zone will offer.
Mark Blundell, OnSide Youth Zones Partnership Development & Community Engagement Manager in London explains how important young people are in the development of Youth Zones. He said:
“As well as working in partnership with the council and local businesses, OnSide is committed to involving young people at every stage of development of a Youth Zone. Young people’s active participation in every aspect of design and ongoing management of a facility is fundamental to our approach. With that in mind, we gathered a team of Ambassadors, self-branded ‘Game Changers’ for Saturday’s event. Game Changers are a group of dedicated young people who want to make change for the better, via the national promotion of Youth Zones. The group managed to engage with close to 400 young people from the Barking and Dagenham borough, finding out what activities and spaces they would like to see and use in their Youth Zone. We can now use this data to help shape the facility and we are all hugely excited about working with the council to develop London’s first Youth Zone.”
The exciting plans will see a purpose-built Youth Zone open seven-days-a-week, with more than 20 activities on offer every session for young people aged 8-19, or up to 25 for those with a disability. The aim of the Youth Zone is to raise the aspirations, enhance prospects and improve health and well-being for young people in Barking and Dagenham, by providing affordable access to a wide range of programmes, services and activities including sports, arts, music, employability and mentoring.
Barking and Dagenham Council is due to invest £3million towards the Youth Zone development costs as well as providing the site. The project is also being made possible thanks to significant financial investment from The Queen’s Trust and Jack Petchey Foundation. The Queen’s Trust is investing £2.1million towards both the capital and revenue costs of the Youth Zone and Jack Petchey Foundation is contributing £1.5million of match funding towards the building costs.