Barnet’s young people will soon see the development of a state-of-the-art Youth Zone in their borough after a planning application for the project was given approval.
The £6million facility, which is being developed by charity OnSide alongside Barnet Council, will offer a wide range of activities for young people aged between eight and 19 and up to 25 for those with additional needs. Facilities at the Youth Zone, which will be located on part of Montrose Playing Fields in Colindale, will include dance, sport, art, music, drama, media, employability and mentoring programmes.
Following a branding process last year, Barnet’s young people named the Youth Zone ‘Unitas’, to reflect the messaging on the borough’s coat of arms, which means ‘Unity’.
OnSide already has a successful network of nine Youth Zones across the North West and will work alongside the London Borough of Barnet as a strategic partner for this Youth Zone. As well as providing the site, the Council has contributed £4.2million towards the construction costs.
The Youth Zone will cost £1million per year to run, which OnSide is committed to raising through private sector philanthropy, local business support and other funders.
Now the Youth Zone has gained planning consent, building work will begin later this year with an opening date planned for late 2018.
Barnet Youth Zone Chair Keith Black said: “Gaining planning permission for Unitas really is exciting news for every single young person in Barnet. We can’t wait to start building this fantastic facility which will change lives by providing young people with somewhere safe and inspiring to spend their leisure time and giving them a great number of wonderful activities to take part in. So much hard work has gone into getting us to this point and I want to thank everybody who has helped make this dream a reality. This really is just the beginning though!”
Councillor Reuben Thompstone, Chair of Barnet Council’s Children, Education, Libraries and Safeguarding Committee, said: “I’m delighted that we have reached this key milestone in this exciting project, and I am really looking forward to seeing the Youth Zone taking shape. This is going to be a fantastic asset for young people in Barnet with all kings of opportunities on offer. It has been great to see so many young people involved in helping from the outset in making Unitas their own.”