FEATURE: What does the new youth zone mean for Chorley?
Children, teenagers and young adults are set to be '˜inspired' at the new youth zone heading to Chorley in 2017.
The £4.3m project was given the green light in July, with youngsters deciding is would be called Inspire.
It is set to be built on Railway Street, where The Arts Partnership and Leigh Arms currently stand, and will be a place for young people to ‘reach their full potential, grow their dreams and achieve their goals’.
Inspire will be built upon an existing model that has been established by the OnSide charity for other youth zones around the country.
Inspire will offer up to 20 activities every evening for young people aged between eight and 19 and up to 25 for those with a disability.
This will include activities such as dance, sport, art, music and media, costing
young people just 50p per visit.
But what exactly does this mean for the young people of Chorley?
Michelle Graham, who works for Inspire in youth and community engagement in Chorley, has been meeting as many young people as possible by visiting youth groups, scouts and brownies.
She has also been in touch with other community groups to explain to them how the youth zone can benefit everyone - especially through the use of volunteers at the centres.
Michelle joined the new youth zone from the The Arts Partnership, one of the original project champions, whose youth offer will be merged with the new Youth Zone.
She said: “It’s important that young people feel comfortable when you go in to talk to them as you will get more out of them in terms of what they would like to see and how they can get involved so it often means visiting them each week and developing a relationship.”
Michelle meets with a group of young people from Chorley every two weeks to influence the development of the Youth Zone.
Amongst the discussion topics are transport links to and from the Youth Zone and art work to decorate its exterior to let people know what is in store.
OnSide has a network of Youth Zones including ones in Wigan, Blackburn, Manchester, Bolton, Wolverhampton and Oldham with then next one opening in Wirral.
Michelle added: “Working with OnSide has given young people the opportunity to see what a working Youth Zone will look like and how they can implement the things they would like to see.
“They have met other young people and seen how beneficial having such a fantastic building can be, not only for a place to go and try new things but can also provide work opportunities for them as well.”
For more information about Inspire Youth Zone or to find out how you can get involved, visit www.inspireyouthzone.org.