Blackburn Youth Zone honoured with Queen’s Award

Blackburn Youth Zone is to receive a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK.

The youth hub, located at the heart of the town opened in 2012 and plays a vital role in supporting young people and the community, reaching more than 15,000 young people.

The charity engages with young people aged 5 to 19 (up to 21 with disabilities), providing activities fully accessible for free, every day of the week. Activities cover art, music, sports, multimedia, emotional health and wellbeing sessions, mentoring, employability support, community outreach, healthy eating and much more, depending and responding to the emerging needs of the young people we support.

Hannah Allen, Blackburn Youth Zone CEO said: "Winning such a prestigious award is a huge honour and a testament and recognition of the great work achieved by our team, including many volunteers, supporting our members, children and young people across Blackburn with Darwen.

"Although the Covid pandemic meant that we had to adapt and deliver in different ways, BYZ remained there for young people; through online activities, welfare calls and outreach activities, launching projects to support some of our most vulnerable families."

Jack Straw, chairman of Blackburn Youth Zone, said: "The Queen’s Award is simply fantastic news. It’s given everyone a real skip in their stride.

"Above all, this Award is for the young people of the Borough, our members. What I have missed more than anything during forced exile of the pandemic is to walk into the Youth Zone and to hear and feel the buzz of our young members, making every use they can of the wonderful opportunities we endeavour to provide.

"It is also a tribute to the vision of our founder, Andrew Graham, (and CEO of the major local business, Graham & Brown) back in 2007, and who remains very active in the work of the Youth Zone as its vice-chair.”

Representatives of Blackburn Youth Zone will receive the award crystal and certificate from The Lord Shuttleworth KG KCVO, Lord-Lieutenant of Lancashire later this summer. Two volunteers from the Youth Zone will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2022, along with other recipients of this year’s Award.