Proposals for the development of a new £6million OnSide Youth Zone, supporting thousands of young people across the borough, have been given the green light by Warrington Borough Council’s Executive Board.

The joint venture between the council, national young people’s charity OnSide and Warrington Youth Club will see a purpose-built facility which will raise aspirations, enhance prospects and improve health and wellbeing for young people, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds in Warrington.

The new Youth Zone will offer affordable activities in sports, arts, music, employability and mentoring to young people aged from eight to 19, or up to 25 for those with a disability, every day of the week.

The council have confirmed the site for the new state-of-the-art facility in the Stadium Quarter next to the UTC, which when completed will see Warrington Youth Club move to its new Youth Zone home. The proposed location is extremely central and accessible by public transport, enabling it to be reached by large numbers of young people from across the borough.

Stephen Reddy, executive director for families and wellbeing, said: “We’re happy to have secured a suitable space for this project which we hope will bring real benefits to the young people of Warrington.

“Research has shown that creating a Youth Zone is beneficial, not only to the young people themselves, but also the wider community.”

The funding for the Youth Zone was initially agreed in March 2015 and a £3 million contribution was included within the council’s capital programme.

The £3m investment from the council would be used for capital costs only. This package of support from the council will unlock approximately £3m of private sector and charitable trusts and grants funding.

Andy Gatcliffe, Chair of Warrington Youth Club said: “This is an exciting step forward in the development of the Club’s future provision for young people. As part of the OnSide network we can provide a purpose-built facility just for young people and enhance our offer by operating seven days a week, enabling us to reach many more young people in need.

“The Youth Zone will give local young people a supportive and exciting place to help them live happier, healthier and more aspirational lives. Working together with Warrington Borough Council, the local community and private sector I am confident that this partnership will go on to deliver fantastic opportunities for our young people for years to come.”

Dave McNicholl, Chief Executive of OnSide Warrington Youth Club commented, “We have been working really closely with Warrington Borough Council and OnSide, amongst many other partners over the past nine years to develop a Youth Zone in Warrington. This decision is excellent news and will take us to the next stage of the journey towards Warrington Youth Zone. The children and young people of Warrington deserve access to the same state of the art facilities that are contained within the other eight Youth Zones across the country.”