OnSide set to bring Youth Zone to Preston

By Tim Aldred

30 Nov 2022

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OnSide, the charity which supports young people by providing affordable activities, has submitted a planning application to open a Youth Zone in Preston.

The charity's national network of 14 locations includes established sites in Blackburn and Chorley. They are state-of-the-art spaces designed to welcome young people and are staffed by skilled youth workers who can help them to achieve their potential.

They offer access to around 20 activities each night, seven nights a week, ranging from football, boxing and climbing to creative arts, music, drama and employability training. The activities are available for just 50p per visit and £5 annual membership.

The multi-million-pound Preston site would be built on the corner of Crooked Lane and Tithebarn Street, directly opposite the bus station. It will be operated by Preston Youth Zone, an independent local charity based on OnSide’s successful model.

The Youth Zone’s capital and revenue costs will be met by a number of financial contributions from Preston City Council, the Town’s Fund, various charitable trust and foundation grant funding bodies and from the private sector.

Prior to opening, OnSide will work with the new Youth Zone to fundraise for the remaining building costs and the first three years running costs from a combination of private sector and philanthropic contributions.

Adam Poyner, head of property and construction for OnSide, said: “We are delighted to be able to submit our full planning application to Preston City Council revealing the final designs for the Youth Zone in Preston. This is a very exciting milestone for all the project partners involved and, most importantly, for the young people of Preston.”

John Chesworth, executive chairman of Harrison Drury Solicitors and chair of the Preston Towns Fund Board, added: "Preston Youth Zone is one of the key projects within the Towns Fund investment programme, which is focussing on the regeneration of the Harris Quarter.

"Not only will it have a physical impact, but its social and economic value will also be key. As with other similar Youth Zones in Lancashire, we have seen their tremendous impact in engaging young people and helping them reach their potential. It'll be an important asset and much-needed facility for the city."

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