OnSide Preston Youth Zone OnSide c Elephant Visual

Preston Youth Zone was one of three projects in the North West to receive funding from the Youth Investment Fund this year. Credit: Elephant Visual

North West secures £24m for new youth zones

Facilities focused on helping young people in Salford, Preston, and Crewe could become a reality thanks to the latest round of awards from the government’s Youth Investment Fund.

The Department for Culture, Media, and Sport announced the recipients of the £90m phase two YIF awards on Monday.

Culture secretary Lucy Frazer said: “I want every young person to have the opportunity to access the kinds of life-changing activities which expand their horizons and allow them to develop vital life skills…

“We are supporting this today with an investment to create or renovate spaces for youth clubs and activities to support opportunities for thousands of young people across the country who would otherwise miss out.”

All three youth zones in the North West are still awaiting planning permission from their respective authorities.

Plans for the Preston Youth Zone were submitted by national youth charity OnSide in November. The project was awarded an £8.3m grant from the YIF. Under designs by John Puttick Associates, the 30,900 sq ft youth facility would sit on the corner of Crooked Lane and Tithebarn Street.

The Preston Youth Zone has been in the works for nearly a decade. If it is built, it will offer young people in the area a variety of amenities including a climbing wall, boxing classes, skate park, a multi-sensory room, dance studio, and a radio booth. Read more about the Preston Youth Zone.

Ambitions for a Crewe Youth Zone were unveiled in December, when OnSide submitted plans to Cheshire East Council. Architect Seven designed the facility, which, if planning permission is secured, will be built on the site of Oak Street Car Park.

The government awarded the Crewe Youth Zone £8.3m from YIF. OnSide estimates that the facility could support around 4,000 young people. Activities on offer would include climbing, employability training, football, music, and drama. Read more about Crewe Youth Zone.

Over in Greater Manchester, OnSide partner Empower Youth Zones has received £7.6m from YIF for a Salford Youth Zone. Of that £7.6m, £6.2m is for the building of the centre on a site adjacent to Belverdere Road and Boardwalk in Pendleton. The remaining funds are going towards site preparation and pre-opening costs.

The Salford Youth Zone facility would offer young people access to a music studio, film and multimedia suite, climbing wall, sports hall, and fitness gym.

If plans are approved for the Salford Youth Zone, construction could begin in August and the facility could open in early 2025. Even though charity Empower Youth Zones would manage the youth hub, it would still operate as part of the OnSide network of youth zones.

Adam Farricker, chief executive of Empower Youth Zones, said he was grateful to receive an award from YIF.

“With the cost-of-living impacting planning and production of Salford Youth Zone by increasing price of labour and materials in the initial build, having these costs secured through the Youth Investment Fund means we can begin to focus on kickstarting major work to fund annual running costs,” Farricker said.

“We’d like to thank the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Social Investment Business for accepting our application. This is a great start to the Salford Youth Zone story.”

Your Comments

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these schemes NEVER work, waste of money, more about photo opportunites

By Dan

Think that every town & city should have a Youth Centre : so youngsters have a safe place to meet ,socialize, enhance core learning skills & have fun

By Corrina

Dan is right: Kids could ‘meet up’ and ‘hang-out’ in shopping centers and “gang-up” if they are bored of existing alone in their tower-block bedrooms. Or go to their local country club.

By James Yates

It’s lucky planners don’t listen to people like Dan or our cities wouldn’t have any developments like this for young people, or offices for that matter. Luckily they know better.

By Anonymous

@PNW can you do something about Dan’s troll posts? He ruins every article with his negativity.

By Anonymous

Youth Centres and Youth Zones DO work and we need more of them and more funding for them . Great to see Muhammad Mokaev’s story and his link with Wigan Youth Zone this week.

By Dan Positive

It’s not hard to see that since 2010 the number of after school and youth clubs has dropped drastically but kids still need something to do. People will complain if they all stay inside and play videogames, and people will complain if they go and hang around on streets. There needs to be an alternative like this for them to use. And I am all for it. Give the kids something back to do.


These don’t work, there is a push to get away with one big youth centre snd have many smaller ones as Young People don’t want to travel from certain parts of Preston to one main one

By Woody

To Dan… you realise onside already have around 10 of these centres open the one used to work in took around 200 underprivileged kids off the street in one of the roughest areas in Manchester every single night of the week. Maybe try some research next time before making judgement

By Anonymous

Dan I would kindly advise you go and visit one of these centres you are suggesting doesn’t work they really are incredible and the blueprint onside follow really does work in engaging kids of all ages whilst providing a first class youth provision

By Anonymous

Dan is a well known troll on PNW. Even though he has a right to his opinion on this project apparently I’ve never know a single positive comment about anything. That says much.

By Anonymous

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