Bringing a Youth Zone to Basildon has moved a big step closer with Basildon councillors approving steps to negotiate a preferred location and engage young people about future youth services.

The Neighbourhoods and Public Spaces Committee has agreed that council officers can begin speaking to the owners of a preferred site to consider leasing or purchasing the land for a Youth Zone.

Councillor David Harrison, Chair of the Neighbourhoods and Public Spaces Committee, said: "We're backing plans to bring a Youth Zone to the borough, and taking the right steps forward to get the land, get young people involved and provide them somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk to.

"Now that the committee has approved the plan we're going to begin getting a physical location for Youth Zone in place, and start a community wide engagement about the services for young people, by talking to the young people who will use them.

"We need more access to high quality youth provision especially as the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the whole community—and to begin the regeneration of Basildon borough."

The council has been working with national charity OnSide to explore opportunities to develop a Youth Zone in the Basildon borough. Youth Zones aim to be safe, supportive and affordable places where young people can spend their free time constructively. Local young people are involved in the naming, branding and interior design of each new Youth Zone.

Clare Kanakides, Relationship Development Manager at Onside, said:

"This is a really positive step towards bringing an OnSide Youth Zone to Basildon. We look forward to working with the Council on the next stages, which includes identifying the ideal site for this state-of-the-art facility."

Targeting young people aged 8-19, and up to 25 with additional needs, Youth Zones provide large-scale multi-activity facilities which typically include multi-use 3G pitches, indoor sports hall, climbing wall, gym, music, dance and performing arts facilities and a café. They also contain flexible spaces that can respond to young people's changing needs and preferences.

OnSide work in partnership with local authorities, charitable trusts and businesses to provide both capital and revenue funding for each facility. OnSide now operates a national network of Youth Zones with 14 in operation.

ENDS

Published on Monday 10 August 2020