Today’s guest blog is from Kathryn Morley, Chief Executive of OnSide Youth Zones, our partners for the world-class south Bristol Youth Zone – which will be the first of its kind in the south west.
News that the Council has approved proposals to move forwards with South Bristol Youth Zone is absolutely wonderful for the young people of the city.
OnSide Youth Zones are safe, aspirational places for young people to go in their leisure time, where they can meet friends and make new ones, while taking part in exciting and inclusive activities. Our charity, OnSide, has developed 14 Youth Zones across the country and we are so excited to do the same here in South Bristol and to partner with a fantastic organisation in Youth Moves to deliver it. Our Youth Zones support over 50,000 young people every year. As well as giving them an amazing place to go with over 20 activities every night of the week, our team of local youth workers establish invaluable relationships built on trust, giving them the vital support they need from brilliant Youth Workers.
South Bristol Youth Zone will house only the best facilities for young people. It’s what they deserve. There’ll be a wide-range of sports on offer in our four-court sports hall, 3G kick pitch, gym and boxing and martial arts suite, as well as music, arts and crafts, a giant climbing wall, dance, cooking and a café serving hot meals for just £1.
Bristol City Council’s decision to support these plans is an historic moment for OnSide, as we begin work on the South West’s first Youth Zone. The North, the South East and the Midlands all have them so it’s about time we built one here! The capital cost of the Youth Zone is £8.4million with half of that coming from Bristol City Council, which will also contribute £400,000 to the annual £1.3million running costs. OnSide has committed to securing the remaining development and running costs, which will be combined with the Council funding to cover the construction and opening costs of the building. We will also work to build a group of donors locally to ensure the Youth Zone’s running costs are secured for the first three years.
We are extremely grateful to have the opportunity to partner with such a fantastic organisation as Youth Moves, which has a well-earned reputation for supporting young people in the area. Youth Moves will run South Bristol Youth Zone and become a member of the OnSide network. We know from experience that Youth Zones deliver the best service when they work in partnership with other local voluntary and statutory organisations and the partnership with Youth Moves will help to achieve this. A Youth Zone is able to provide a new physical space for other organisations to deliver their activities or services to young people. We find that other local organisations are able to reach more young people with their service by partnering with the Youth Zone.
The last year has shown that support for young people is more vital than it has ever been and youth services are absolutely integral in providing this. Bristol City Council’s commitment to South Bristol Youth Zone shows that it is putting young people first.