The future of partnership working in our new South Bristol Youth Zone

Alistair Dale is pictured, smiling, with a wall behind him.
Today’s guest blog is from Alistair Dale, CEO of Youth Moves.

Youth Moves are delighted that we have reached another milestone by being granted planning permission for the Youth Zone (YZ) in South Bristol. This is a huge step forward in the whole process, and something we are very excited about.

All our focus and attention will now be on making this a smooth transition into the new space for young people, their families, and the wider communities we serve. A huge part of this is ensuring that a range of local partners and organisations collaborate with us, so we will be looking to reach out to as many as possible, to create the best offer to young people we can.

This could be to local businesses, funders, or philanthropists to bring our vision to life, local schools, and colleges to use the space in curriculum time, and building links with local sports, arts, and youth clubs to team up with us to deliver engaging, transformative, and sustainable activities.

We have been warming-up and waiting for this moment, so it feels like lift off now. So, we will be ramping up these conversations, and looking to build on and create new links.

Having been embedded in the communities of the area for over 20 years, we are acutely aware of its unique identity, its challenges and recognise it is an area that has not always had the most resource available for young people.

A group of young people, involved with Youth Moves, are pictured smiling in a boxing ring.

After witnessing many local youth clubs closing in Bristol in that period, we felt compelled to do something about this. Sensing that a youth hub was much needed in the South of the city, we are delighted to team up with the charity OnSide who have the expertise and experience required to make this a reality. But this space is not just for Youth Moves, we are merely the custodians of the building, it is for the whole community, it belongs to South Bristol.

This latest announcement follows on from the news in March that the YZ was awarded a £6.9million Youth Investment Fund grant. Which means this is really happening now. Bristol City Council is contributing £4.2million towards the construction costs and £400,000 of its annual £1.3million running costs. It has been a lengthy process to get to this next, exciting stage, and is a process which has been a bit stop-start at times, so we would like to thank Marvin Rees, the Mayor of Bristol, for believing in the project and having the political will to see it through to the end. We were also incredibly pleased to see the deep understanding and recognition from those on the planning committee that this is something positive for the city.

We hope to build a YZ which sits alongside the community offering a safe space to hang out, try new experiences, and provide the best opportunities for young people to succeed.

The best of what Bristol can offer will be available for young people who walk through the door, and where we see ourselves as experts on youth work delivery, we recognise in the sectors of art, media and sport and more, that there are others better placed that we want to work with, in order to create the best possible offer to young people.

So, if you are excited like us, and want to be involved and think you have something to offer then I urge you to contact us at Youth Moves. But also, if you have any questions, even reservations or concerns, then please reach out for a conversation. All we want, is what is best for the young people of Bristol.

A artists impression of the future South Bristol Youth Zone is pictured. With young people seen in the foreground.