A new sports facility for the young people of Preston has seen building work get underway this week.Advertisement
Preston Youth Zone+ will house a sports hall, climbing wall, dance studios and recreation rooms for use by teenagers across the city.
The building will be constructed on the corner of Bow Lane and Ringway on land which was formerly used as a County Hall car park and the Headstart Nursey which has been relocated.
The £6.1 million project is backed by Lancashire County Council and led by the Youth Zone board.
Chairman of the Youth Zone board is Guy Topping of Barton Grange.
He said: “As a Prestonian by birth, I’m adamant that a facility like this for Preston isn’t just something that’s nice to have, it’s a vital part of securing a positive future for Preston. I’m delighted that today sees another step towards its completion.
“Young people today face many significant challenges, from finding the right job to affording somewhere decent to live – none of which are unreasonable aspirations and yet can seem out of reach for many in today’s economic climate.
“The Youth Zone+ will not only provide them with somewhere safe to go and constructive ways to use their free time, but provide support and guidance in dealing with issues they face like these. I hope that other local business people like me will see the benefit in investing in such a facility.”
The building will use the successful Bolton Lads and Girls Club model to ensure it stays financially viable.
The county council and other public sector bodies will cover 40 per cent of the running costs, local businesses are putting in 50 per cent and young people who use the facility will cover the final 10 per cent through a £5 annual fee and pay 50p per session they attend.
County Councillor Mark Perks, Cabinet Member for Young People, said: “The county council has invested a significant amount of money into this ‘one stop shop’ for young people. It clearly illustrates the commitment in Lancashire to providing them with high quality, joined-up services. It will offer all of the services that they may need, especially if they are at risk or vulnerable.
“For me, the dream of an iconic youth zone in Preston is becoming a reality. Its striking design will make it a landmark site for Preston. I very much hope it will be a flagship in a network of youth zones and satellite provision around the county.
“I would like to thank everyone who has worked so hard on this hugely important project. In particular, I’d like to mention the Preston and Lancashire Youth Councils for their continued commitment and the private sector, who have contributed well over £2million to this project.”
Preston’s Youth Zone+ is due to open towards the end of 2014.
What do you think of the Youth Zone+? Will you use it? Would your children use it? Let us know in the comments below