Fundraising begins for new Darwen youth hub

A new fundraising drive aims to raise the £250,000 required to launch a new youth zone in Darwen.

The funding would be used to help transform a temporary base in the town into a state-of-the-art Youth Zone Darwen. Sessions would also be held at AFC Darwen, DACA’s Sport Centre, Darwen Library Theatre and Junction 4 Skatepark.

The project is being spearheaded by Wayne Wild, who is a trustee for Blackburn Youth Zone, chair of the Darwen Town Deal Board, and former commercial director of the town's largest employer, WEC Group.

He said: "This is an incredibly exciting time for Darwen with £25m of government Town Deal funding secured for ambitious regeneration plans right across the town. Boosted by investment from Blackburn with Darwen Council and private investment, it’ll see more than £90m of investment in the town over the next five years.

“The Town Deal is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – one that will change lives – and we need to invest in our young people to make sure they can make the very most of the opportunities created. The new Youth Zone Darwen scheme is a chance to create something fantastic in the town – somewhere youngsters can go to socialise and have fun but also somewhere where they can learn new skills and be inspired to reach their full potential."

The fundraising drive is being led by Youth Zone with the support of Blackburn with Darwen Council, private businesses, charitable trusts and education providers.

Hannah Allen, chief executive of Blackburn Youth Zone, said: "Darwen’s young people deserve good quality, affordable activities and safe spaces to spend their spare time and, with the support of the council, local businesses and the community I know we’ll be able to make this happen.

"I’d urge businesses to get in touch to find out how they can be a part of this important project which will inspire a generation of young people.”

The group is seeking individuals and business leaders who are committed to Darwen, to step-up and unite with the same aim: to raise aspirations, increase skills and improve the health and wellbeing of local young people and our future workforce.

Councillor Phil Riley, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council’s executive member for growth and development and deputy chair of Darwen Town Deal, said: “We know that we can achieve so much more when we work together to make a real difference.

“We’re embarking on huge regeneration plans for Darwen – improving the lives for all of the town’s residents and its future generations.

“Youth Zone Darwen is a chance for the community and businesses to come together to inspire our youngsters, equip them with skills they need and inspire them while also creating a really strong future workforce.”

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