Future Youth Zone is a high-quality centre open 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year to young people from East London between the ages of 8 to 19, and up to 25 with disabilities or learning difficulties.
The Youth Zone ethos is ‘somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk to’. It creates opportunities for more of the borough’s young people to try positive new activities and raise their aspirations.
Annual membership is £5 with each visit just 50p. Income from young people only amounts to around 10% of annual turnover but it is important as it gives them a sense of value, ownership and equality.
Future Youth Zone is a purpose-built facility offering 20 activities every session, including sport, fitness, dance, arts, music, media and self-improvement. It has a four-court sports hall with facilities for indoor badminton, football, netball and basketball and a separate climbing wall. There is a fitness suite with the latest gym equipment and an outdoor kick pitch. The centre also includes a kitchen and café area selling healthy food and drink, as well as dedicated areas for dance, music, film, and multi-media, arts and crafts, gaming and DJ-ing, martial arts and boxing facilities.
The Youth Zone project cost £6.15million. Barking and Dagenham Council invested £3million towards the building costs as well as providing the site. The remaining £3.15million came from the Queen’s Trust (£1.5million) and the Jack Petchey Foundation (£1.5million) as well as the Lord Mayor’s Appeal and The Seroussi Foundation via the UBS Optimus Foundation and Vistra Jersey.
The annual running costs for the Youth Zone are approximately £1.6million. This includes staffing costs, equipment, support for volunteers (including DBS checks), insurance, maintenance and utilities. The on-going financial support is from the private sector, charitable trusts and grants, membership and entry fees.
Future is run by East London Youth Zone charity. The Board of Trustees is a group of passionate individuals and representatives from Barking and Dagenham Council with the diverse skills and experience needed to oversee our work. The day-to-day management of the Youth Zone is by a small team of paid staff, led by Chief Executive Gavin Evans.
One of the major strengths of a Youth Zone is the way young people from different areas and backgrounds are able to mix in a neutral space.
Future provides for young people with a range of additional needs up to the age of 25, through inclusive ability sessions every Sunday (Futurebility) alongside the mainstream offer. Sessions are adapted for young people with additional needs and are open for a wide range of young people to access; including those with mild learning difficulties, through to those with more complex needs such as visual impairment and physical disabilities. Young people are given the opportunity to access a range of activities, including boxing, trampolining, karaoke, arts and crafts, cooking, gaming and much more.