Youth Zone Darwen hits major funding milestone

By Tim Aldred

11 May 2023

Darwen Youth Zone raises £500,000

Youth Zone Darwen has secured its 15th patron, achieving £500,000 in donations since beginning its fundraising drive in January 2022.

The funds are used to provide high-quality activities, all through the week, for the young people of Darwen. 

The project began at the start of last year with an ambition of securing £250,000 of support from local organisations - a target which was achieved within six months.

With support from J&A Kay, Youth Zone Darwen has now doubled that initial goal.

David Kay, from Darwen-based J&A Kay, said: "Youth Zone Darwen is a brilliant idea and much needed in our town. It has helped literally hundreds of youngsters so far by offering them somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk to.

"This should be a basic right of all young people and we want to be involved every step of the way. After all, these will be our employees of the future and it makes good business sense to give them the best start in life."

During 2022, more than 700 young people signed up for membership of Youth Zone Darwen and since this time, the service has welcomed these young people during more than 14,000 visits.

Additionally, over 3,000 free hot meals have been provided to local young people to alleviate some of the hardship their families face during this cost of living crisis.

The Youth Employability Hub, operating from Meeting Places in the Town centre, has also supported over 50 young people into employment since the initiative was launched.

The charity additionally delivers sessions at Junction4 Skatepark, Darwen FC, Darwen Leisure Centre as well as in the many public open spaces, parks and multi use games areas (MUGAs), across the town.

Wayne Wild, chair of the Darwen Town Deal, was instrumental in establishing the Youth Zone. He said: "Youth Zone Darwen is helping change lives. It inspires youngsters to be the best versions of themselves and raises their aspirations above and beyond what they think is possible. 

"At the start of last year we set out to raise £250,000 to ensure the Youth Zone Darwen youth activities offer could gain a foothold in the Town. We achieved this but had the ambition to make our own Youth Zone a permanent feature of the Town.

"I am delighted to report that, with an incredible effort and commitment of the local business community, we have doubled the original investment enabling us to plan for 2024 and beyond."

Enjoyed this? Read more from Tim Aldred

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