What is Future Youth Zone?

Future Youth Zone will be a high quality facility open to all of the young people from the borough between the ages of 8 to 19, and up to 25 with disabilities or learning difficulties. It will be built on a small area of Parsloes Park, where Gale Street meets Porters Avenue.

The Youth Zone will be somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk to for all the young people of Barking and Dagenham,.  It will complement and enhance existing provision for young people in terms of available activities. It will create opportunities for more of the borough’s young people, many of whom aren’t accessing the current provision. Future Youth Zone will engage and inspire young people to try positive new activities and raise their aspirations. The Youth Zone is based on the proven successful model of Bolton Lads & Girls Club (BLGC) and will open 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year.   

Future Youth Zone’s opening hours during term-time mirror school timetables.  During school holidays, additional junior sessions will run during the day, offering affordable holiday care for local parents.   

Based on local demographics and experience elsewhere, OnSide has projected that around 1,500 young people will visit the Youth Zone each week. 


How much does it cost to attend? 

Annual membership for the Youth Zone is £5, with each visit costing young people just 50p. 

One critical factor in the success of the OnSide Youth Zone model is the voluntary relationship that exists between the Youth Zone and its members, i.e. the young people that attend do so because they choose to, and never because they have to.  This is key to developing positive, healthy relationships between young people and the staff and volunteers – which enables the Youth Zone to deliver high quality, engaging youth work to those that need it most.  It is also vital that the Youth Zone maintains its cover charge of 50p per session. Income from young people only amounts to around 10% of annual turnover but it is important as it creates a sense of value, ownership and equality.  


What facilities does it have? 

Future Youth Zone is be a purpose built facility offering 20 activities every session, including sport, fitness, dance, arts, music, media and self-improvement. The Youth Zone includes 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. 

How did it come about? 

Barking and Dagenham Council, in partnership with local business people, have seen the Youth Zone model in other towns and cities in England and want to give their young people access to a Youth Zone and the benefits it can bring for the whole community.  Future Youth Zone is similar to OnSide’s existing facilities in Bolton, Carlisle, Oldham, Manchester, Blackburn, Wigan and Wolverhampton and was the first to open in London.   


How is the Youth Zone being funded? 

The Youth Zone project cost is estimated at £6.15million.  Barking and Dagenham Council has invested £3million towards the Youth Zone’s building costs as well as providing the siteThe remaining £3.1.5million has come 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.

How much does it cost to run? 

The annual running costs for the Youth Zone are approximately £1.4million. This includes, for example, staffing costs, equipment, support for volunteers (including DBS checks), insurance, maintenance and utilities. The on-going financial support needed is made up from a mixture of support from the private sector, charitable trusts and grants and members’ entry and membership fees. 


How do we know the Youth Zone will be sustainable in the future? 

The Youth Zone model is based on the successful Bolton Lads and Girls Club, where a combination of revenue streams, including private sector funding, ensures its sustainability and over time allows the income streams to grow and diversify steadily, increasing the Youth Zone offer. At the time of opening, OnSide ensures that each Youth Zone has three years revenue funding in place and this will be the case in Barking and Dagenham.  This allows the new charity time to establish itself as a key part of the local youth offer and demonstrate the huge value it can provide to the lives of many of the borough’s young people. Over the first three years, the Youth Zone, supported by its private sector-led Board, will develop new income sources and partnerships to allow its income to grow, in the same way that all OnSide Youth Zones have grown. 


Who runs Future Youth Zone? 

A new charity has been formed called Barking and Dagenham Youth Zone. The Board of Trustees are local business people and representatives from Barking and Dagenham Council, who as volunteers will ensure the new charity delivers for the young people of Barking and Dagenham.  The day-to-day management of the Youth Zone is the responsibility of a small team of paid staff, led by Chief Executive Gavin Evans. The Chair of Barking and Dagenham Youth Zone is successful businessman Charles Mindenhall. 

 The Youth Zone has created mixture of approximately 50 full and part-time local jobs and will generate a minimum of 100 volunteering opportunities within the community.  


What will happen to all the existing Youth Provision? 

Barking and Dagenham Youth Zone will act as a platform to help grow the total offer for young people, with the purpose of complementing and enhancing the current offer for young people.  

Youth Zones deliver the best service when they work in partnership with other local voluntary and statutory organisations. The Youth Zone might provide a new physical space for other organisations to deliver their activities or services to young people. Other local organisations find they can reach more young people through the Youth Zone membership.  Experience from existing facilities shows that the vast majority of Youth Zone members do not already access existing local youth provision. For those young people that do attend other local centres, the Youth Zone is seen as an additional offer, and not a replacement.  The Youth Zone alone will be open for approximately 48 hours per week, representing a significant increase in choice and availability for local children and young people. 

Barking and Dagenham Youth Zone is keen to work in partnership with as many existing youth groups as possible.  Anyone that would like to get involved, or know more, should contact Head of Youth Work Gershom Clarke at: gershom.clarke@futureyouthzone.org. 


Do young people from across Barking and Dagenham mix together in the Youth Zone? 

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. We are already seeing members mixing with their peers from different backgrounds, as well as with young people from a range of local areas in the town / city.

How does the Youth Zone provide services to young people with additional needs? 

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. 


Will the central location of the Youth Zone increase anti-social behaviour? 

The impact of other Youth Zones in their local areas has been extremely positive with statistics showing that the Youth Zones have actually contributed towards the decrease in anti-social behaviour.  

 For example, local police have reported a 77% reduction in anti-social behaviour (ASB) as a direct result of strategic and continued partnership work between Wigan Youth Zone and local police, whilst Harpurhey has also seen a 51% reduction in ASB since its opening. 

Hear from PCSO Robert Smith, who patrols the Harpurhey area of Manchester, about his views of the impact The Factory Youth Zone has made on the reduction of ASB in the area: http://www.onsideyouthzones.org/youth-zoness-impact-on-asb-levels   


How do I know my child will be safe travelling to and from the Youth Zone via public transport? 

The safety of young people is of paramount importance to us. Barking and Dagenham Youth Zone will be for all young people of the borough and its proposed central location is accessible by foot, bus or train.  

We’ll be speaking to young people, the police and local communities to explore their thoughts on safe transportation to the Youth Zone and all possible options. 

Hear from parents, voluntary sector youth providers and councillors in this short video about why they think Youth Zones are so important to their local areas: http://www.onsideyouthzones.org/changing-perceptions-of-a-youth-zone