A ground-breaking ceremony today marked the start of building work for Croydon’s new £6.5m state-of-the-art Legacy youth zone.
The leader of Croydon Council joined other project funders at the Selhurst site this afternoon to witness a giant 10-foot spade kick-starting the development. They were also joined by members of the Legacy young people’s development group who have played an important role in planning the new youth zone.
The zone, which is being developed by charity OnSide with a £3.25m contribution from Croydon Council towards construction costs, will offer a fantastic range of activities for young people aged to 18 (or up to 25 with additional needs) in first-class facilities. They will include a four-court sports hall, 3G kick-pitch, fitness suite and martial arts area, as well as art, music, drama, cookery, enterprise and employability opportunities. Membership will cost just £5 a year and 50p a session.
OnSide has secured the remainder of the funding from external contributors including The Queen’s Trust, the Stone Family Foundation. Fidelity Foundation and UBS, Vistra and the Seroussi Foundation. Croydon Council has also committed to funding to £300,000 per year as part of the annual £1m running costs.
The youth zone is being developed on the site of the former Whitehorse Youth Centre, at the junction of Whitehorse Road and Boulogne Road. Demolition of the old building got under way earlier in the spring.
Councillor Tony Newman, leader of the council
“I’m really delighted to see this fantastic project becoming a reality. Through Legacy we’re delivering a wonderful facility for Croydon’s young people and what’s really special is that they’ve been at the centre of this project throughout, helping to shape what will be on offer.
“Croydon’s Choose Your Future campaign is all about helping young people to make positive choices and key to this is making sure that they have access to opportunities that they really want and that can set them on the right path. Legacy will offer so many of our young people, so many opportunities – whether it’s the chance to learn new skills, do something they love, give something back as a volunteer, or even just make new friends. It’s going to make a real difference to their lives and I’m hugely proud to be part of it.”
Angel Chizea, 15, Legacy young people’s development group, said: “I’m overwhelmed that the old youth centre has been demolished and I really can’t wait for the new Legacy youth zone to be built and up and running for all the young people in Croydon.”
Youth Zone chair Nick Sleep said: “Our Youth Zones are magical places. I’d like you to picture this: that in a year’s time we’ll have a 20,000 ft sq purpose-built iconic youth zone right where we were standing today as we broke down. The climbing walls, the boxing ring, there will be arts, craft, drama, theatre workshops, music. Our volunteers and staff offer coaching and, where necessary, pastoral care that may not be found easily elsewhere and all this can be accessed by kids for £5 to become a member and then 50p a visit. We’re so excited to see this Youth Zone being developed here in Croydon.”