Building begins on multimillion-pound Dagenham youth centre next month

PUBLISHED: 08:50 12 December 2017 | UPDATED: 08:50 12 December 2017

Council leader Darren Rodwell, deputy leader Saima Ashraf and Cllr Maureen Worby promote Barking and Dagenham’s Youth Zone. Picture: LBBD

Council leader Darren Rodwell, deputy leader Saima Ashraf and Cllr Maureen Worby promote Barking and Dagenham’s Youth Zone. Picture: LBBD


Construction on a £6million youth centre in Parsloes Park will begin in January.

Barking and Dagenham Council and Greater London Authority approved plans to create the capital’s first OnSide Youth Zone in September.

The facility, located on the junction of Porters Avenue and Gale Street, Dagenham, is “part of a wider plan” for development at the park, said a council spokesman.

“This project is a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity to provide them with access to an inspiring, quality and affordable facility,” said council leader Darren Rodwell.

“I am extremely proud that our aspirations for our young people have been matched by our ability to work with the private sector and community to deliver this – another first for our borough.

“We must ensure our young people have access to the best opportunities and we are confident the Youth Zone will do just that.”

Cllr Rodwell, deputy leader Saima Ashraf and Cllr Maureen Worby, cabinet member for social care and health integration, unfurled a banner at the site yesterday with the borough’s young mayor, Vaisaly Gnanapandithan, and youngsters from charity OnSide.

Project leaders say the development will offer up to 20 activities a night for young people aged between eight to 19, as well as those aged under 25 with additional needs.

Facilities include a four-court sports hall, an all-weather pitch and spaces for drama, cooking and “employability opportunities”.

The council supplied the land in Parsloes Park and half of the project’s £6million construction costs.

The Queen’s Trust and the Jack Petchey Foundation funded the remainder, each chipping in £1.5million.

Once complete, the Youth Zone will join OnSide’s nine facilities across the north of England and the Midlands.

Each centre is an independent charity with a separate private sector-led board, the charity says.

Jamie Masraff, project director at OnSide, said: “This really is an exciting time for everybody involved in the project and, most importantly, the young people of Barking and Dagenham.

“We can’t wait to get the spade in the ground and begin building this amazing facility.”

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