OnSide Youth Zones: Safe and inspirational places for young people to be supported and to develop themselves

Young people in deprived areas are being offered an alternative to spending their evenings on the streets or isolated in their bedrooms, thanks to a network of youth facilities in the UK.

Founded by young people’s charity, OnSide, Youth Zones offer activities in sports, arts, music, employability and mentoring for young people aged eight to 19, or up to 25 for those with a disability.

Around 81% of young people say that their local area offers little to do outside of school and 66.2% spend most of their leisure time in their bedrooms. That’s why OnSide exists with the ambitious aim to help young people grow into healthier, happier and more aspirational adults.

Youth Zones offer 20 activities each night ranging from football, climbing and curling to nail art, DJ-ing, drama and employability training and entry is just 50p.

By creating a UK-wide network of high-quality youth facilities, OnSide are providing young people with inspiring and safe places to spend their leisure time.

OnSide currently has a network of 10 youth zones in Bolton, Manchester, Oldham, Blackburn, Wigan, Carlisle, Warrington, Wolverhampton, Wirral and Chorley. Over 40,000 young people are currently members across the OnSide Youth Zone Network.

For many young people, OnSide Youth Zones provide them with a place to escape the pressures of normal life and focus on their own development. These neutral spaces – away from gang pressures or postcode wars – give them the opportunity to socialise with peers and adult role models.

OnSide is the brainchild of entrepreneur Bill Holroyd who during his time as Chair of Bolton Lads and Girls Club (BLGC), recognised the outstanding value and impact of the club on young people and local communities across the town.

The charity was set up in 2008 to improve young people’s futures by building and supporting places for young people to go, with positive things to do, staffed by people who care, open seven days a week.

OnSide founder Bill Holroyd has made it his life’s ambition to replicate the BLGC “model” across the country, so that thousands more young people can benefit from a first-class facility like Bolton.

Three more youth zones in Barking and Dagenham, Barnet and Croydon are set open in 2019 and a number of other projects are at various stages of planning.

OnSide Youth Zones

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea



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