Council grants funds for south Bristol youth club with aims to keep kids ‘off the streets and out of trouble’
Youth workers hope the centre will keep young people ‘off the streets and out of trouble’
and live on Freeview channel 276
Millions of pounds have been earmarked to build a huge new youth club in south Bristol due to open in 2025.
The new Youth Zone will offer a wide range of activities for young people such as football, boxing, climbing, music, drama, and training for jobs, all for a cheap price. Bristol City Council’s cabinet has agreed to spend £7,275,000 to help build the Youth Zone, which will be located near the roundabout connecting Hengrove Way and Hartcliffe Way. Construction is due to begin in July and take just over a year to complete the new building.
The Youth Zone will be run by local award-winning charity Youth Moves, and developed by OnSide, a national charity that has built 14 similar youth centres across the country. The investment was welcomed by local councillors, who said the project was “excellent news”.
Labour Councillor Chris Jackson, representing Filwood, said: “This alongside the levelling-up funding to regenerate Filwood Broadway will have a huge positive impact for the area. Filwood residents often feel left behind but the administration is changing that.
“We are now on track to have the city’s biggest and best youth centre, a regenerated high street, a refurbished community centre and — after 30 years of campaigning — a new supermarket. The Youth Zone and Filwood Broadway scheme is excellent news for my ward and I hope to see both projects progress quickly.”
Alistair Dale, CEO of Youth Moves, added: “We are really excited by the support we are getting for the Youth Zone from the council, other partners and young people in South Bristol. We want to ensure young people have the opportunities they deserve, and increasing the number of youth workers in the city will mean they will also get the support they need.”
During a cabinet meeting on January 24, council chiefs faced questions over their claims the youth club would “benefit children in Lawrence Hill”. Lawrence Hill is more than four miles away from the new Youth Zone, taking almost an hour and a half to walk according to Google Maps, with no direct bus service.
Green Cllr Christine Townsend said: “The report mentions Lawrence Hill as an example area. Is the intention for children to come from Lawrence Hill to go there? Because it is quite a long way away.”
Labour Cllr Asher Craig, cabinet member for education, replied: “Yes it is a long way away, but we’re not London. I’ve had the opportunity of going to the Youth Zone in Croydon, an amazing facility, but it’s open to everybody in the city.
“If a youth project or youth organisation in another part of the city wants to get a minibus and take the kids over for a session, then they shouldn’t be stopped from doing so. It’s for everyone, but the main beneficiaries will be the children and young people of South Bristol.”
The Youth Zone will cost £5 for an annual membership and 50p per visit, with fees waived for young people who can’t afford this. The centre will open more than 40 hours a week. The council will contribute £400,000 a year to the Youth Zone’s running costs.
One local youth worker said the new centre could help bridge the divide between young people from Hartcliffe and Knowle West. Writing on the mayor’s blog, 21-year-old Cody said the youth club could help keep young people “off the streets and out of trouble”.
He said: “There can be some tensions between young people from Knowle West and Hartcliffe. When I go to Hartcliffe, a lot of the young people at first don’t want to work with someone from Knowle. That’s how entrenched some of this can be.
“There was a big divide, especially when I was growing up, and I reckon the Youth Zone will be a big part of solving this, because it’s right in the middle and in a space where all young people feel safe. I think once it’s there and it’s been there for a little while, we’ll be able to get funding to be able to transport young people from different locations across South Bristol.
“I feel like it’s been a long time coming for South Bristol, we deserve something of this standard to give to the young people to keep them off the streets and keep them out of trouble. There was nothing like this when I was growing up.
“Bigger buildings like this are so much better because then it gives them a safe space to come to, and more things to do. And young people will probably trust us workers a bit more and open up about stuff they might have going on.”