Over 1,400 people celebrated Barnet’s ‘greatest show’ as the borough’s OnSide Youth Zone, Unitas, officially opened its doors to young people.
The grand opening for the centre, which had a ‘Greatest Showman’ theme, offered everyone in the Barnet community the opportunity to see what is on offer.
As with all OnSide Youth Zones, the £6.5million facility has an incredible range of facilities including a four-court Sports Hall, gym, 3G all-weather pitch, music room with recording suite, training kitchen, dance studio, health and well-being room, arts and crafts area and much more.
All this will cost young people just £5 annual membership and then 50p every time they visit.
And young people have already been showing their eagerness to get inside with over 800 signing up as members before Unitas even opened its doors!
Unitas is part of the OnSide Youth Zone network which has 11 other centres across the country. Each have exceptional spaces, facilities and youth work provision, ensuring the best opportunities for young people. ‘Unitas’ – named by Barnet’s young people, and meaning ‘Unity’ in Latin, is the first Youth Zone in North London.
Unitas Youth Zone CEO Tony Lewis said: “What an incredible day! We were delighted to welcome so many of the Barnet community, including hundreds of young people, to Unitas to celebrate our grand opening. I want to say a huge thank-you to all our Capital Funders and Founder Patrons for turning this dream into a reality, giving young people in Barnet somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk to.”
As well as providing the land for the building, Barnet council has also contributed £4.2million towards the construction costs. The remainder has come from contributions from the Bernard Sunley Foundation, the Charles Wolfson Charitable Trust, the Linbury Trust, The Benson Black Charitable Trust, the Gerald and Gail Ronson Family Foundation, The Rubin Foundation and the Seroussi Foundation via Vistra Jersey and the UBS Optimus Foundation.
The annual £1.4million running costs will be funded by a range of trusts, grants, private sector and philanthropic contributions.
Councillor David Longstaff, Chairman of Barnet Council’s the Children, Education and Safeguarding Committee, “It is fantastic to see Barnet’s new Youth Zone officially open after all the years of hard work which have gone into making it a reality. Unitas is only the second Youth Zone to open in London and we were so incredibly proud that we have been able to support and invest in this ambitious project.
“A big thank you must go to the group of very committed young people who have been involved throughout, and used their enthusiasm, ideas and creativity to really shape Unitas and make it their own.
“Our young people are very important to us and the amazing array of facilities and activities available under one roof here is absolutely first class. I have no doubt Unitas will prove enormously popular with our young people for many years to come.”
The Youth Zone will be open seven days a week with different sessions for juniors (8-12) and seniors (13-19 and up to 25 for those with additional needs).