Opening 18th May 2019

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Young people from Barking and Dagenham are counting down to the grand opening of Barking and Dagenham’s OnSide Youth Zone, ‘Future’.

Students from Robert Clack Upper School joined members of the Future Youth Zone team and Barking and Dagenham Council Leader Cllr Councillor Darren Rodwell to celebrate there being just 100 days to go until the borough’s young people have access to world-class, inspiring facilities and activities for just 50p.

To celebrate this fantastic milestone, young people, aged between eight and 19 (and up to 25 for those with additional needs) can now also sign up to be a member by clicking here.

The Youth Zone has already been working with young people from Barking and Dagenham for three years, forming a Young People’s Development Group to help steer the project with key decisions being made including naming the Youth Zone, interviewing staff and being part of the interior design process.

Future is being developed by the national charity OnSide Youth Zones and will join a network of similar centres across the UK but will be the very first in London. It will cost £1.3million to run annually, with OnSide raising those funds through Founder Patrons, consisting of local businesses and philanthropists as well as a range of trusts and grants.

The £6.5million facility – the first if its kind in London, which has been funded by Barking and Dagenham Council, The Queen’s Trust, the Jack Petchey Foundation and the Seroussi Foundation via Vistra Jersey and UBS Optimus Foundation, will boast a wide array of world-class facilities and activities. Young people will be able to enjoy sports in the four-court sports hall, martial arts room and 3G kick pitch as well as art, drama, music, cooking, climbing and enterprise and employability workshops.

This unique, wide range of activities has proven a huge success across OnSide’s network, raising young people’s aspirations and giving them opportunities they may not otherwise have.

Incredible progress has been made on site at Parsloes Park since the spade went into the ground little over a year ago and with the building nearing completion, the staff team is now preparing to move into their new home.

The 100 day countdown, the final major milestone before opening, will kick off a number of key events leading up to the Youth Zone opening date. A host of events for young people and the community will be on offer to preview and test out the building ahead of the grand opening on 18thMay.

Recruitment is well under way for the 50-strong staff team and 100 volunteers who will be crucial in giving young people somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk to.

Future Youth Zone Chief Executive Gavin Evans said: “We are so excited to start our 100-day countdown. Our team has been hard at work for some time now and we can’t wait to get into the building and open those doors.”

Barking and Dagenham Council Leader Councillor Darren Rodwell said: “Our borough’s young people deserve the best and I am delighted that we are delivering for them, London’s first Youth Zone. At a time when youth provision is reducing across the country, I am proud of our work with our partners and our innovative approach to funding this provision.”

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