Empower Youth Zones has been awarded a £6.2million Youth Investment Fund grant to build a new purpose-built youth centre in Salford.

This critical funding means that the project has now secured all of its building costs and will now focus on fundraising its annual running costs, which will come from private sector and philanthropic contributions.

Subject to plans being approved, the Youth Zone is expected to open in early 2025 and will be located adjacent to Belverdere Rd and Broadwalk in Pendleton. It will provide thousands of young people with opportunities to engage in activities and access support from skilled youth workers, helping them to develop their skills and reach their full potential.

Salford Youth Zone is being delivered with the support of Salford City Council, by Empower Youth Zones which also operates HideOut Youth Zone in Gorton (Manchester), in partnership with national youth charity OnSide and local businessman and philanthropist, Fred Done.

Salford City Council is contributing £1.5m towards the construction costs and £300,000* of its annual £1.5million* running costs. The Youth Investment Fund grant will also go towards the Youth Zone’s site preparation and pre-opening costs.

Once opened, Salford Youth Zone will join HideOut Youth Zone, and the two sites will be managed via the single umbrella charity – Empower Youth Zones. It will be part of the OnSide Network of 14 Youth Zones nationwide, supporting over 50,000 young people. Youth Zones are open to young people aged between eight and 19 (up to 25 for those with additional needs), seven days a week, for just 50p a visit. Members will have access to an indoor climbing wall, four court sports hall, training kitchen, music room with a recording studio, fully equipped gym, dance and drama studio, 3G kick pitch, arts and crafts room, enterprise and employability suite, combined with support from skilled youth workers.

In addition to the incredible facilities, trained youth workers and dedicated volunteers will be available 7 days a week to offer guidance and support to help Salford’s young people to thrive. It will create a number of full and part-time jobs as well as volunteering opportunities.

Salford Youth Zone is one of 43 youth services in England to benefit from the first wave of Youth Investment Fund grants, announced by the funder, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the charity Social Investment Business, who is delivering the grant programme in partnership with Key Fund, National Youth Agency and Resonance.

The Youth Investment Fund is part of the Government’s National Youth Guarantee to transform and level up opportunities for young people in England. The Youth Investment Fund, of over £300 million, aims to build, renovate, or extend youth service facilities, providing a minimum of 45,000 additional positive activities for young people between 11 and 18 – in the parts of the country where new spaces and new opportunities are most needed.

Adam Farricker, CEO of Empower Youth Zone commented on the announcement:

“We are grateful to have received the full grant from the Youth Investment Fund in this first round.

With the cost-of-living impacting planning and production of Salford Youth Zone by increasing price of labour and materials in the initial build, having these costs secured through the Youth Investment Fund means we can begin to focus on kickstarting major work to fund annual running costs.

We’d like to thank the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Social Investment Business for accepting our application. This is a great start to the Salford Youth Zone story.”

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said:

“I want every young person to have the opportunity to access the kinds of life-changing activities which expand their horizons and allow them to develop vital life skills.

“The National Youth Guarantee will provide these opportunities and support young people with access to regular club activities, adventures away from home and volunteering opportunities.

“We are supporting this today with an investment to create or renovate spaces for youth clubs and activities to support opportunities for thousands of young people across the country who would otherwise miss out.”

City Mayor Paul Dennett welcomed the funding which will add to the investment in the Youth Zone being made by Salford-born businessman Fred Done and Salford City Council.

He said:

“This extra funding will help deliver Salford’s Youth Zone, which will offer a range of services, experiences, activities, and opportunities for socialising and having fun seven days a week.

“It’s so important we help young people achieve their potential – they are our future and they will work with us to shape this exciting new development.

“The youth zone will be a positive addition to other youth facilities and services in Salford and will also bring jobs and volunteering opportunities.”

Empower Youth Zones is waiting for plans to be approved for the new Youth in Salford Zone and if successful, work is due to start on site in August 2023.