Funders and supporters of Barnet’s £6.5million OnSide Youth Zone have been treated to a first look at the building’s development.
Work has been ongoing at the site on Montrose Playing Fields in Colindale for several weeks now and as the steel frame nears its completion, those in attendance were invited inside the site complex and given their first glimpse of the shell of a building which will change the lives of thousands of young people across the borough.
 
The Youth Zone will join OnSide’s network of Youth Zones across the UK and will be the first in north London when it opens next year, offering sports, arts, music, drama, enterprise and employability opportunities, counselling and much more for just £5 a year membership and 50p per visit.
 
Barnet Council is contributing £4.2million towards the construction costs of the Youth Zone, which will be called Unitas following a branding process consisting of over 2,000 local young people. OnSide is committed to raising the annual £1million revenue costs from a range of local trusts, grants and private sector philanthropy.
 
A number of those already funding the project joined Youth Zone Chair Keith Black, Chief Executive Tony Lewis and Council Leader Councillor Richard Cornelius at the site to celebrate the start of an exciting project.
 
Unitas chair Keith Black said: “This is a momentous day, seeing so many of our generous funders and supporters at the site for the first time to see how they’re making our collective dream for Barnet’s young people a reality. We are delighted with the progress being made and it was great to visualise where each activity space will be, from the Sports Hall to the Recreation Area. I want to say a particular thank-you to the London Borough of Barnet for their wonderful support.”
 
Chief Executive Tony Lewis, who has spent the last six months working at The Hive Youth Zone in Birkenhead, said: “It’s wonderful to see the work being done and the steel frame which seems to have gone up so quickly! This is just the start though, we are still fund-raising the Youth Zone’s running costs so everything can be in place so that when the first young person steps through the door next year we can give them a life-changing experience.”
 
Barnet Council Leader, Councillor Richard Cornelius, said: “It is very exciting to see the progress being made on site and to see the new Youth Zone really beginning to take shape. Unitas is going to be an absolutely fantastic facility for our young people and I am delighted that we are able to support the project. Once it opens its doors, the Youth Zone will provide all kinds of opportunities for young people for many years to come.” 
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