Last week we celebrated our 4th birthday. This time 4 years ago we welcomed young people through our doors for the very first time. They were able to explore their Youth Zone, find activities they loved and most importantly build relationships with their peers and their Youth Workers. 4 years on those same things continue to happen every day at the Youth Zone.

Future’s birthday week kicked off with a trip up north to our friends at Warrington Youth Zone where 400 other young people from across the OnSide Network took part in the annual Presidents Cup. Although we didn’t win, the young people did Future proud and had loads of fun.

On Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday we hosted our Birthday Glow Parties for young people from all our clubs. We had glow sticks, rollers discos, party games, a silent disco, dance-offs and much much more for young people to enjoy and celebrate.

Thursday’s session landed on our actual birthday. We welcomed in some of our funders and supporters to an event where we launched the new strategy called ‘Our Future is Bright’. We heard from Archie a Senior member at Future about the impact Future has had on his life and how his Youth Workers have inspired him to consider a career in youth work. We also heard from staff and supporters about the big difference the Youth Zone makes within our community. The event ended with three fantastic performances from some Senior members and then the cutting of a beautiful cake kindly donated by a parent.

Friday night we hosted our annual Football Tournament and invited the Police football team, a team from our satellite site at Marks Gate and our very own Future Football team. Team Future won the tournament with our team from Marks Gate coming second.

On Saturday we opened our doors to the whole community and invited everyone in to come celebrate our 4th birthday with us. We had all our rooms open for people to explore and had lots of different activities on for people of all ages to get involved in.

“We loved celebrating our fourth birthday last week with the whole community and it has been a good reminder of the huge amount of support we have from so many people.  In this week alone we have had nearly 1500 people from within our community come into the Youth Zone.

Many of you will have noticed that the Youth Zone was on the receiving end of a significant amount of vandalism recently.  Whilst it would not be appropriate for us to comment on the incident itself, we can share that we are liaising with the Police who are investigating the case.  We are working hard to ensure the windows are replaced as soon as possible and the building will be back to looking it’s best. But in the meantime, we have continued to stay open as usual and are as determined as ever to do our very best for young people.

We want to thank everyone for their support since the incident and throughout our birthday week.  It has been inspiring to hear from everyone about the positive impact the Youth Zone has had in the community.  We’ll be looking forward to celebrating many more birthdays in the years to come and continue to do all we can to ensure that Barking and Dagenham’s young people have the very best Future!” – Gavin Evans, Future Youth Zone Chief Executive