Multimillion-pound OnSide Youth Zone in Parsloes Park approved

CGI of Barking and Dagenham's Youth Zone (Picture: Infinite 3D Ltd)

CGI of Barking and Dagenham's Youth Zone (Picture: Infinite 3D Ltd) - Credit: Infinite 3D Ltd

Plans to create a £6 million youth centre in Parsloes Park have been given the green light.

Barking and Dagenham Council and Greater London Authority approved the plans to create the capital’s first OnSide Youth Zone, which provides careers mentoring, sport and arts facilities to young people.

The centre at the corner of Dagenham’s Gale Street and Porters Avenue will offer more than 20 activities for youngsters aged eight to 19 – including football, climbing nail art and drama – and 25 for those with a disability.

Sessions at the centre, named ‘Future’ by local children last year, will cost 50p per visit and a fiver for an annual membership.

Barking and Dagenham Council leader Darren Rodwell said: “This is welcome news for the borough and most especially our young people.

“Future will give our young people a place to meet friends, learn new things and be safe.”

Building work will begin later this year. Projects leaders say the Dagenham site will offer activities seven days a week when it opens in 2019.

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The council will provide half the money for the project, with OnSide raising the remaining £3m from backers.

Funders include the Jack Petchey Foundation, which has invested £1.5m into the building, and the Queen’s Trust, which will provide £200,000 of the £1m revenue costs.

“I have a particular interest in the East End – I actually used to live where the new OnSide club will be,” said Sir Jack Petchey. “This is a great opportunity to ensure that young people are engaged in positive activities that raise their aspirations and enable them to achieve in life.”

More than 30,000 youngsters use OnSide’s nine facilities across the north of England and the Midlands. It says each Youth Zone is an independent charity with its own private sector-led board.

Charles Mindenhall, chair of the borough’s Youth Zone, said: “Youth Zones are remarkable places that change lives, offering young people a safe and inspiring place to spend their leisure time.

“So much hard work has gone towards getting us to this incredible milestone and everybody is extremely excited to see building work commence.”