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West Ham captain Mark Noble attends groundbreaking cermony for new youth centre in Dagenham

PUBLISHED: 18:39 15 January 2018 | UPDATED: 09:30 16 January 2018

Groundbreaking ceremony for the new Youth Zone with Mark Noble and council leader Darren Rodwell celebrating the occasion

Groundbreaking ceremony for the new Youth Zone with Mark Noble and council leader Darren Rodwell celebrating the occasion

Archant

Work began today on a £6million project to provide the borough’s young people with new facilities for sports, arts and activities.

Groundbreaking ceremony for the new Youth Zone with Mark Noble and council leader Darren Rodwell celebrating the occasionGroundbreaking ceremony for the new Youth Zone with Mark Noble and council leader Darren Rodwell celebrating the occasion

London’s first OnSide Youth Zone, which is to be built in a 7,000 square metre plot on the Porters Avenue side of Parsloes Park in Dagenham, is due to be completed in 2019.

West Ham captain Mark Noble, Barking and Dagenham Council leader Darren Rodwell, the facility’s funders and some young people all attended the groundbreaking ceremony.

Cllr Rodwell said it was a “wonderful day” and the project shows “the council are investing in its young people.”

Children aged eight to 19, and up to an age of 25 for those with additional needs, can buy an annual membership for £5 and pay 50p per visit to access facilities.

Groundbreaking ceremony for the new Youth Zone with Mark Noble and council leader Darren Rodwell celebrating the occasionGroundbreaking ceremony for the new Youth Zone with Mark Noble and council leader Darren Rodwell celebrating the occasion

A four court sports hall, martial arts room and 3G pitch are all set to be built, along with space for art, drama, music and cooking. There will also be “enterprise and employability opportunities.”

Mark Noble, who said he grew up playing football in the street, said it is good young people in Barking and Dagenham will have “somewhere they can be safe.”

It is “important because there is not a lot of places for young people now,” he adds.

Cllr Rodwell said it was “fantastic to see Mark Noble take time out of his busy schedule to be part of a special day.”

“Dreams can certainly become a reality and a development like this can only improve their chances of achieving their goals.”

Taylor Crews, a 17-year-old who is working to help engage the borough’s young people in the project, said the reception has been overwhelmingly positive.

“I think it will be very popular,” she said.

Half of the £6 million funding is being paid by the council, with the Jack Petchey Foundation and the Queen’s Trust also contributing £1.5 million each.

The centre will need to find £1 million per year for running costs, with most funds coming from private sector and charitable contributions.

The model for the centre is being based on previous projects in the north of England including Bolton, Oldham, Preston and Manchester.

Whilst the Barking and Dagenham centre will be a London first, similar centres are in the pipeline for Barnet and Croydon.

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