27 June 2024

Construction starts on Preston Youth Zone

Construction is underway on Preston Youth Zone, which also has a new name following a city-wide vote of over 2,000 young people.

The Youth Zone’s development group, consisting of young people from across Preston, had created two brands for others to choose between. They revealed the winning name to be The Vault, ahead of a special groundbreaking ceremony at the Youth Zone’s town centre site on Wednesday 26 June.

The event, hosted by the charity’s chair Guy Topping and CEO Tim Jacques, launched an exciting new phase for the Youth Zone. Contractors Triton Construction will begin building the multi-million-pound centre, which will open next autumn.

Using a giant spade, supplied by Barton Grange Garden Centre, young people cut the first hole in the ground.

Mr Topping said: “This is a momentous occasion – it’s fantastic to break ground and build this special space for Preston’s young people. It will give them somewhere safe and inspirational to go in their leisure time to try new activities, develop skills and make friends.

“We’ve waited a long time to get to this stage, but in many ways, this is just the beginning as we take a huge step closer to opening to thousands of young people from across the city. I am so grateful to everyone who has helped us on this journey, turning the dream of a Youth Zone in Preston into a reality.”

Mr Jacques added: “I feel very proud to be CEO of this brilliant charity, one which will change the lives of so many young people in Preston. 

“The Youth Zone will be a place they deserve with incredible facilities and a team of dedicated youth workers offering vital support and guidance. It was great to see our development group unveil our fantastic new brand and I want to thank the 2,000 young people across Preston who took part in the vote. 

“We’ve had so many brilliant people back this project but we are still actively fundraising for the  remainder of our annual running costs, so we’d appeal to any local businesses who want to support Preston’s young people to get in contact.”

The Youth Zone also forms one of the six key programmes in Preston’s £200 million regeneration of the Harris Quarter.

John Chesworth, Chair of Preston Towns Fund Strategic Board added,  

“It’s fantastic to see the start of a much-needed asset in the City. The Youth Zone has been in the planning stage for a long time, but we can now see Guy’s vision become a reality. As a proud Prestonian, it’s something that I believe will provide many opportunities to our young people and give them a future while also contributing to the physical transformation of the Harris Quarter.”

The Vault is being developed by national charity OnSide, which currently has 15 similar Youth Zones across the UK, and Preston’s will be one of six to open in 2025 

Michael Gregory, Limitless director and Vault board member, concluded: “The Vault will make an important impact to the City, not just in terms of its physical presence but also its valuable contribution to social regeneration of Preston. 

“It truly is a fantastic asset and one that will provide so many opportunities to young people of the City.”

The Vault will boast a wide range of state-of-the-art facilities. These include a climbing wall, music room and recording studio, gym, health and wellbeing room, performing arts studio, boxing and martial arts gym, a four-court sports hall, 3G pitch, media room with podcast recording facilities, a café serving hot meals for just £1 and much more. Young people will pay just £5 annual membership and 50p per visit.

The Youth Zone will be funded by various sources, including private sector contributions, and the charity is actively fundraising for its annual running costs.

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