Exciting plans to create a £6m youth facility for young people in Croydon have been unveiled this week.
The purpose-built OnSide ‘youth zone’ would offer affordable activities every day of the week in sports, arts, music, employability and mentoring to young people aged from eight to 19, or up to 25 for those with a disability.
The aim of the joint venture between the council and youth charity OnSide is to raise aspirations, enhance prospects and improve health and well-being for young people in Croydon.
The ‘youth zone’, proposed for Whitehorse Road in Thornton Heath, would provide 20 different activities during every session for up to 200 young people. It is set to be discussed for approval at the council’s cabinet meeting next Monday.
The construction costs for the project would be jointly-funded between the council and the charity, with the council also contributing £300,000 per year towards running costs. OnSide would secure its share of construction and running costs from a combination of private sector supporters and charitable trusts and grants.
“The council invests heavily every year in new and expanded school facilities, but it’s important that young people also have access to productive and fun activities in the evenings and weekends. This proposed new centre will complement the council’s four existing youth hubs and let even more young people develop new interests and skills, meet new friends, and become more ready for adult life.”
Councillor Alisa Flemming, cabinet member for children, young people and learning
Dr Mark Ward, project director at OnSide Youth Zones said: “Youth Zones are safe, inspiring and affordable places for young people to spend their leisure time and we are delighted that Croydon is considering bringing one of our facilities to the area. Not only will the Youth Zone support those harder-to-reach young people, in particular those from deprived backgrounds, but it will also provide a supportive and exciting place that all young people from the borough can access to help them live happier, healthier and more aspirational lives.
“Working together with Croydon Council, the local community and private sector I’m confident that this partnership will go on to deliver fantastic opportunities for local young people for years to come. If the proposals are given the go-ahead, Croydon will be our third Youth Zone location to be announced within a matter of months. It is really overwhelming to see the vision and commitment being invested from so many London boroughs to provide even more positive outcomes for their future generations.”
Launched in 2008 and based on a successful, tried and tested model, OnSide currently has a network of six operational Youth Zones in Manchester, Bolton, Oldham, Blackburn, Wigan and Carlisle. Two more are set to be completed in 2016 (Wolverhampton and Wirral) and a further 12 are at various stages of planning.