Hospital makes six-figure pledge to youth charity

By Tim Aldred

01 Mar 2024

Bespoke Healthcare New Building

Greater Lancashire Hospital has pledged £100,000 to support the new Preston Youth Zone in transforming the lives and prospects of thousands of young people in the city.

The Ribbleton hospital, which is based in Millennium City Park, has become a Founder Patron of the purpose-built youth centre which is scheduled to open in 2025.

The Youth Zone will be located in Preston city centre on the corner of Crooked Lane and Tithebarn Street and provide first-class facilities, opportunities and support for young people from across Lancashire.

As a Founder Patron, Greater Lancashire Hospital has agreed to donate £25,000 per year towards the charity’s annual running costs from now until 2027.

Gwam Rajiah, local co-founder and executive chairman of Bespoke Healthcare Group, which runs Greater Lancashire Hospital, said: “We’re a Preston business run by a Lancashire family who wish to support the best future for every city resident.

“The ambitious new Preston Youth Zone will ensure that young people can achieve their full potential here in Lancashire by providing them with the support and guidance they need.

“It will bring widespread, ongoing benefits for the communities of Preston, our county and the wider North West, and we were delighted and honoured to be able to help.”

It’s anticipated that Preston Youth Zone will support around 5,000 young people a year by providing them with an indoor climbing wall, four court sports hall, training kitchen, music room with a recording studio, and much more including an enterprise and employability suite.

Trained youth workers and dedicated volunteers will be available seven days a week to offer guidance and support to help young people aged between eight and 19, and up to 25 for those with additional needs.

Preston Youth Zone is being delivered by national youth charity OnSide in partnership with Preston City Council and Preston Town’s Fund Board and it is being supported by a number of businesses and philanthropists. Planning permission was granted in July 2023.

Guy Topping, Preston Youth Zone chair, said: “Every penny of Greater Lancashire Hospital’s generous donation will directly benefit young people from Preston and beyond.

“Additionally, having the support of such a respected local business means an immense amount to us at this point in our journey.

“We continue to raise the remainder of the first four years’ running costs for Preston Youth Zone and I’d like to urge more local businesses and philanthropists to join the Founder Patron family.”

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