A city center location has been confirmed for the Preston Youth Zone.
On Thursday it was approved that Preston City Council will provide the land at a key location in the city center.
The location next to the bus station on Lord Street fulfills important criteria for successful youth zones.
It offers a prominent but neutral location that is easily accessible by public transport and is of an appropriate size for the planned development.
The state-of-the-art facilities include a four-seater sports hall, a 3G outdoor kick court, a fitness studio, a boxing and martial arts room, and a music room with a built-in recording studio, arts and crafts area, climbing wall, dance studio, sensory room, teaching kitchen and rooms for implementation of projects in areas such as business and employability.
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The national charity OnSide, which has a network of 14 similar youth zones across the UK, has been working with local Preston partners for several years to build a youth zone in the city.
It successfully submitted a proposal that was accepted as part of the Preston Towns Fund Bid, which was accepted by the government earlier this year.
The goal of the Preston Youth Zone is to create a cutting-edge space for young people in the city to offer skills, career and employment advice, and the opportunity for them to discover new passions, make friends, and be successful in a setting to be that is inclusive, welcoming and exciting.
The youth zone in the city center, which is run as an independent non-profit association in the national OnSide network, is intended to support around 4,000 young people and create 70 permanent jobs, including 35 full-time positions.
The Preston Youth Zone is one of six major projects included in the Harris Quarter Towns Fund investment program.
This major renovation program, which focuses on providing culture, leisure, housing, infrastructure, community and education through the renewal of the city center, is part of Preston City’s overall investment plan.
While some of the Youth Zone’s initial funding will come from the Towns Fund, OnSide will raise the remaining construction and running costs from a variety of trusts, grants, private and philanthropic contributions.
Councilor Matthew Brown, Chairman of Preston City Council, said: ‘The youth zone is a high priority for our city and I am proud that the city council can step in and provide the land needed in a good location to make this happen to advance exciting project.
“This project will support Preston’s young people, provide access to positive activities in their community, not only improve their health and wellbeing and encourage the desire to grow up, but also support community cohesion and a vibrant Preston city center.
“While this is an essential next step, we continue to seek much-needed support from Lancashire County Council for the youth zone’s ongoing cost of revenue.”
Guy Topping, Chair of the Preston Youth Zone Committee, said, “This is a really exciting milestone for the Preston Youth Zone. We have been passionately committed to this for several years – it will be a place that the city’s youth deserve.
“I would like to thank everyone involved in the Towns Fund tender and the council who brought us to this stage, and I urge everyone in Preston to stand behind the project.”
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