‘World class’ £8.4m Youth Zone set to open in Bury by 2025

A ‘world class’ £8.4m Youth Zone center is set to open in Bury or Radcliffe in 2025.

Bury Council is developing a partnership with the charity OnSide to develop a Youth Zone, providing facilities and activities for young people.Typically, Youth Zone buildings include a large open recreation area, a four-court sports hall, a fitness suite with boxing and martial arts facilities, a climbing wall, dance and performing arts studio, arts and crafts areas, music, film and multi-media studios and outdoor kick pitches.

The council said cost of the Youth Zone was estimated at £8.4m, half funded by the private sector through OnSide with the rest funded by grant or capital contribution from Bury Council. They said they will seek part of these costs from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

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Once funding is in place and planning agreed, the Youth Zone should open in April 2025 after a 60-week build period. No site has been identified as yet but the council said the new building would most likely be in Bury or Radcliffe town centre.

A report published by Bury Council by cabinet member for children, young people and skills, Coun Tamoor Tariq, outlined the reasons for pushing for a Youth Zone in Bury.

He said: “OnSide Youth Zones is a national charity with a mission to build a network of affordable, high quality Youth Zones across the country, transforming the lives of young people, by giving them somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk unto

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“The council and OnSide are discussing an investment opportunity to develop a Youth Zone in the borough, the sixth in Greater Manchester.

“OnSide raise the funds from the private sector to build Youth Zones in partnership with councils in the country’s most economically disadvantaged areas.

“They aim to inspire young people to lead healthier and more positive lives, raising their aspirations so they grow up to become happy, caring and responsible citizens.”

Typically, a charge of 50p is made per session, giving young people access to more than 20 activities each evening. Nearby youth zones in Wigan, Blackburn and Oldham are at most a couple of hundred meters from the central bus stations and most participants walk or take the bus.

The report added: “The ambition is to build a world-class facility for children and young people.

“The prominence of the site not only affects participation; by everyone knowing where it is but also makes an important statement to young people that they are valuable members of the community.”

The council cabinet is expected to approve a location viability study by OnSide next week at a cost of £23,642. Following the viability study a further report will be brought to council recommending the most appropriate site.

At that point a reserve of up to £350,000 will be recommended to fund the design stage up to the award of planning permission. After that, private sector funding of up to £350,000 raised by OnSide will fund all design works from planning permission onwards, including tendering, award and final design.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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