BAE Systems name first patron of Preston Youth Zone

By Tim Aldred

11 Dec 2023

Preston Youth Zone Artist's Impression

BAE Systems, one of the county's largest employers, has pledged a six-figure sum to become the fist patron of Preston Youth Zone.

The youth zone, which will be located in the city centre on the corner of Crooked Lane and Tithebarn Street, was granted planning permission in July of this year and is scheduled to open in 2025.

BAE Systems has donated £150,000 to become a founding patron, with a total commitment of £350,000 until 2028.

Preston Youth Zone is being delivered by OnSide, in partnership with Preston City Council and Preston Towns Fund Board who will be contributing towards the building and running costs, which have now been covered.

Funds raised by patrons will go towards the provision of services for young people aged 8-19, and up to 25 for those with additional needs, seven days a week.

For just £5 annual membership, plus 50p per visit, young people will have access to world class facilities including a four-court sports hall, 3G outdoor kick pitch, gym and boxing and martial arts room for sports, as well as a music room with a built-in recording studio, arts and crafts area, climbing wall, dance studio, sensory room, and mentoring kitchen. 

The Youth Zone will deliver skills and employability workshops in a dedicated enterprise and employability suite, as well as a wide range of programmes, services and activities. Hot, nutritious meals will be available for just £1 from the Youth Zone’s café.  

Trained youth workers and dedicated volunteers will be available seven days a week to offer guidance and support to help Preston’s young people to thrive. It will create a number of full and part-time jobs and many volunteering opportunities. 

Guy Topping, Preston Youth Zone chair, commented: "We are thrilled to welcome BAE Systems as the first patron of Preston Youth Zone. We are delighted to work in partnership with a renowned local business that does a lot of valuable work to support young people and their future employability. Every penny of their generous gift will directly benefit young people from Preston and beyond, for years to come.”

Dave Holmes, BAE Systems senior air board member, said: “Being part of a community is important to us. This means playing an active part in making the areas we operate and live in better places and given our long and proud link with the city, which is located between our two Lancashire sites employing approximately 10,000 people, we wanted to work with the Youth Zone and support the young people of Preston.

"Ensuring Preston’s youngsters have a safe, inspiring and educational place to call home is really important and we’re delighted to help Preston Youth Zone on this journey over the next few years. We would really encourage local business to get involved with Preston Youth Zone.”

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