National charity OnSide has submitted a planning application to establish London’s first “youth zone” in Barking and Dagenham.
The east London borough was chosen as it faces problems such as a high number of people with conditions such as obesity, which will be tackled by offering affordable opportunities for young people to engage in sport and leisure activities in one of the country’s poorest areas.
People aged between eight and 18 will have access to facilities for a cost of £5 for an annual membership and 50p per visit. The Youth Zone will offer 20 activities each night, ranging from football, boxing, dancing and climbing to creative arts, music, drama and employability training.
With eight open facilities across its network in the north-west and the midlands, the youth zone is proposed for Barking and Dagenham’s Parsloes Park, where Porters Avenue meets Gale Street. If planning approval is granted, the facility is expected to be completed in 2018.
The charity is working with Barking and Dagenham Council as a strategic partner on the project, as well as the Jack Petchey Foundation and The Queen’s Trust.
Young people from the borough named the new youth zone ‘Future’, after a borough-wide branding process.
A group also travelled to Rugby to work with HB Architects, which has been appointed to develop and oversee the designs.They gave feedback on how they want the exterior of the building to look and how some of the internal areas could be best arranged.
Future Youth Zone chair and OnSide’s London champion, Charles Mindenhall, said: “The submission of this planning application is not only a huge step forward for Barking and Dagenham but for London as a whole.
“A tremendous amount of hard work has gone into consulting young people about what they want to see in their youth zone. OnSide’s motto of ‘somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk to’ is exactly what Future will give to the young people of Barking and Dagenham.”
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