World-leading interactive experiences agency Engage Works have become Founder Patrons for Barking and Dagenham’s Future Youth Zone.

Following on from author of ‘The Girl on the Train’ Paula Hawkins, Engage Works, who create interconnected experiences for some of the biggest brands in the world, have become Future Youth Zone’s second Founder Patrons. Working with OnSide, the Engage team will offer their advice, support and personal time to the young people at the Youth Zones. OnSide already has eight operational Youth Zones open across the North of England and the Midlands, which have proven to be a huge success. Now they have looked to London, with three London Youth Zones under development.

Engage will work specifically with Barking and Dagenham’s Future Youth Zone, to ensure these wonderful facilities for young people become a reality. This Youth Zone, which will provide activities ranging from sports to cooking and music to art, will open in 2018 in Parsloes Park, offering young people in the borough somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk to.

Engage will be contributing to the £1million per year revenue costs with the development of the site being led by Barking and Dagenham Council who will provide half of the £6million capital costs, with the Jack Petchey Foundation and the Queen’s Trust also making significant contributions.

These facilities will be available to access for £5 a year for membership and then 50p per visit. With the support of businesses like Engage Works, OnSide aims to be able to have a Youth Zone accessible for every young person aged 8 to 19 and up to 25 for those with disabilities. Moreover, Engage will aim to provide work experience for a young person each year from OnSide’sYouth Zone to support employment opportunities for young people.

Steve Blyth, founder and CEO of Engage works and chair Nick Burns took a tour of Wigan Youth Zone and were amazed at what they saw, immediately spotting the need for a similar facility in Barking and Dagenham.

Steve Blyth said: “Experiencing the facilities in action, and meeting the young people involved in the Wigan Youth Zone blew me away. Providing tools for physical activity and creative stimulation for young people who would otherwise not have these opportunities is fantastic.  Both Nick and I were born and raised in East London, so the launch of a Youth Zone in Barking and Dagenham has a personal attachment for both of us. It’s important for Engage to interweave with the local community and support young people, living and soon-to-be working in the region.”

Future Youth Zone chair Charles Mindenhall said: “We are absolutely delighted to have the support of such a widely-acclaimed and successful business as Engage Works. Their commitment will help ensure a much brighter future for young people in Barking and Dagenham.

“We are thrilled with the progress being made as well as the positive reaction we have already received from local business leaders and the community as a whole. Once again, we extend our sincere thanks to Nick, Steve and everyone at Engage Works for their support.”

Councillor Maureen Worby, Cabinet Member for Social Care and Health Integration at Barking and Dagenham Council, said: “We are thrilled to have a second Founder Patron secured for our Future Youth Zone, and think Engage Works will be a wonderful fit and of huge benefit to our young people.  Their work in cutting-edge interactive experiences makes them world leaders and we hope this kind of support and input will ignite and fuel the minds of our young people, which is what Future Youth Zone is all about.”

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