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Appeal for young people to get involved with the development of Basildon’s OnSide Youth Zone

13 Jan Appeal for young people to get involved with the development of Basildon’s OnSide Youth Zone

Basildon’s young people are being invited to get involved with the development of the town’s new OnSide Youth Zone.

A planning application has now been submitted for the exciting £8.4million facility which is being developed by the national charity OnSide Youth Zones, in partnership with Basildon Council.

Subject to plans being approved, the Youth Zone will be built in the car park opposite Trafford House, as part of regeneration plans for Basildon town centre.

Youth Zones provide a safe and inspiring place for young people to spend their leisure time. Open seven days a week, Basildon Youth Zone will offer 20 activities each night ranging from sports such as football, boxing and climbing to creative arts, music, drama and employability training – all for just 50p per visit.

Ahead of a decision on planning, the charity is forming a Young People’s Development Group – made up of local young people – which will help shape the Youth Zone, making key decisions on branding, staff recruitment and much more, should permission for the project be granted.

OnSide Youth Zones’ Relationship Development Manager David Mellis said: “We are delighted we are now at a stage where we can submit our planning application. Basildon Youth Zone will be the world class facility local young people deserve and we look forward to working with the Council and local community to make this happen.

“We are very keen to put young people at the heart of the project from the start and our Development Group provides them with an exciting opportunity to make their mark on their Youth Zone. As soon as we have planning permission, we want young people from Basildon to begin its branding process which involves coming up with a name for the Youth Zone.”

Basildon Youth Zone will operate as an independent local charity and will be built in line with OnSide’s successful Youth Zone model. There are 14 similar centres operating across the country.

Basildon Youth Zone will cost an estimated £1.3million per year to run, of which Basildon Council will contribute £400,000 in addition to £4.1million towards the building costs.

Prior to opening, OnSide Youth Zones will work with the new Youth Zone to fundraise for the remaining building costs and the first three years running costs from a combination of private sector contributions and accessing charitable trusts and grants.

Cllr David Harrison, Chair of the Council’s Neighbourhoods and Public Spaces Committee, said: “The submission of the planning application is an exciting step closer to Essex’s first Youth Zone coming to Basildon. We look forward to continuing to support OnSide in developing the facility – which will have such a positive impact on our borough’s young people.”

Young people wishing to become part of the Youth Zone’s Young People’s Development Group should email OnSide will host a Q&A session for young people and parents on Zoom on Thursday 21st January at 5pm.