Plans for a new youth zone providing state-of-the-art facilities for young people in Greater Manchester have been unveiled.
Salford Youth Zone is being created thanks to a partnership between HideOut Youth Zone in Manchester, Salford City Council and well-known businessman of bookmaking fame Fred Done.
There are already a number of youth zones across Greater Manchester which give children and teenagers somewhere to spend time with their friends while enjoying a range of sports, arts and cultural activities.
It is expected to take around two years to create the facility in Salford and that is also subject to the planning process going smoothly.
What is Salford Youth Zone and what will be there?
Salford Youth Zone is the planned latest addition to the list of large facilities for young people across the city-region.
The current plan is for Salford Youth Zone to be in a prominent location in the middle of the city, not far from Salford Central train station and the University of Salford.
This, though, is still subject to further feasibility studies being done and to consultation work which will have to be done.
Salford Youth Zone is based on the OnSide model which has created 14 facilities for young people across the country. Five of these are in Greater Manchester: HideOut in Gorton, Manchester Youth Zone in Harpurhey, Mahdlo Youth Zone in Oldham, Wigan Youth Zone, and Bolton Lads and Girls Club.
Aimed at young people aged eight to 19, or up to 25 for those with additional needs, the plan is for the Salford facility to open seven days a week and support approximately 4,000 young people.
Members will have the opportunity to access over 20 activities every night, ranging from sports such as football, boxing and climbing, to creative arts, music, drama, and employability training.
There will be a cost of 50p per visit and a £5 annual membership fee.
It is hoped Salford Youth Zone will create around 70 full and part-time jobs and around 100 volunteering opportunities.
Young people will be supported by a combination of trained youth workers and volunteers who will be available during the week and at weekends to offer guidance and support to help young Salfordians to thrive.
Who is behind the youth zone and how will it work?
The team behind the multi-million pound project has spoken about how the project will work between the organisations and individuals involved and the people and communities it is being created to serve.
Well-known entrepreneur Fred Done, who has previously supported HideOut Youth Zone financially and is determined to bring the concept to the city where he was born, will provide a major part of the upfront costs alongside the council.
Salford City Council agreed at its property and regeneration meeting on Monday (25 July) to provide £1.5million from its capital budget to the project.
However, further funding for this initial stage of the project is still being sought, with philanthropists, businesses and the Salford community being urged to get behind the project and help find the remaining building and running costs.
The team has promised young people will get to name and take ownership of the Salford facility and will join forces with HideOut under a single charity umbrella to run the place.
A Young People’s Development Group will make several key decisions for the facility, from naming and branding to interviewing potential staff members.
When is all this going to happen?
Announcing the Salford Youth Zone, the team behind the project has said it will take at least two years to develop and build the place.
A formal planning consultation, which will be followed by creating the application to get planning permission, is proposed to take place later this year.
What has been said about Salford Youth Zone?
Mr Done, who is best known as the founder of betting giant Betfred, said: “Having been born and raised in Salford, I know just how much young people in the area would benefit from the opportunities available through a Youth Zone.
“I have had the pleasure of supporting HideOut Youth Zone in Gorton to open its doors to thousands of local young people, across Manchester and now it’s time to take this to Salford and change the lives of many more.”
Salford City Mayor, Paul Dennett, said: “First of all a huge thank you goes to Fred Done for his generous donation that has started a dream of a Salford Youth Zone to becoming a reality.
“Pendleton is one of the most deprived wards in the country and this kind of facility is exactly what is needed to provide state-of-the-art facilities for our young people – the future of this amazing city.
“It will offer so much good for the area and help young people to achieve much more than they ever thought possible.
“It is so fitting that Fred, who started business in Pendleton in the 1960s, will make a difference for future generations in the area.”
Coun Jim Cammell, lead member for children’s and young people’s services at Salford City Council, said: “We are really pleased to be working with partners on developing this new youth zone. It will be a positive addition to other youth facilities and services in Salford.
“We want to ensure young people have a wide range of opportunities to have successful futures, they are empowered to gain new experiences and skills, build their confidence and improve their health and wellbeing.
“The new centre will also bring jobs and volunteering opportunities for people in the city.”