Peterborough City Council will seek government funding to set up a new ‘youth zone’ in the city with the aim of reducing anti-social behavior and mental health problems.
The provision will aim to provide young people in Peterborough with a brand new service that will offer a wide range of activities, opportunities for personal development and various levels of support.
A typical youth zone operates seven nights a week, has up to 4,000 members, and up to 100-250 young people visit each night.
A number of possible locations for the Youth Zone were identified as part of the initial process.
These include: Wellington Street Car Park, Dickens Street Car Park, Stanley Park, Embankment East (next to the regional swimming pool), Bishops Road Car Park/Vineyard Road nearby, Riverside Carpark, Fletton Quays and the Pleasure Fair Car Park .
The application for funding – up to £8.7million – for the project will be made through the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Services’ ‘Youth Investment Fund’. sports, which is part of a £368m capital fund available in deals of between £3-4m at a time.
Councilor Lynne Ayres, Peterborough City Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Education, Skills and University, said: ‘This is a chance to enhance the opportunities we can provide to all young people in Peterborough and shows our commitment to exploring existing initiatives that inspire young people to realize their own potential.
“We put in a lot of work to prepare our initial funding offer, and we know that ‘OnSide’ has a proven track record of delivering successful youth zones in other areas. Peterborough is a priority area for this government, and we will wait to find out if our application has been accepted.
This is Stage 2 of the Youth Investment Fund (2022/23 to 2024/25) and will provide up to 300 installations across the UK.
The proposed Peterborough Youth Zone would be a place for young people aged 11 to 18 (and up to 25 for young people with special educational needs and disabilities).
Certain location requirements must be met for a successful project and these must include: being neutral in terms of areas and communities; be important in attracting young people into the building from the street; and be centrally located to be accessible to young people on foot, by bike or by bus.
“Bringing a better future”
The Peterborough Youth Council has also shown support for the introduction of a youth zone, highlighting the benefits they have brought to other parts of the country by helping young people feel more engaged in their communities (resulting in reduced crime and anti-social behavior), learn new skills, find career opportunities and improve their mental health.
He said: “We believe the positive impact of such a space in Peterborough would be invaluable and bring brighter gifts, a brighter future and greater joy for young people in Peterborough.”
The cost of running a youth zone is in the region of £1.3m per annum and it is expected that the council will make a proposal to contribute 15% or £200,000 per annum in this regard.
The capital cost for the council has so far been quoted at £950,000. However, Onside has indicated that it is likely an additional project cost of around £1m could be incurred.
He asked if the council would sign up to this by using its Shared Prosperity Fund offer to cover the £200,000 first year contribution (meaning local authority contributions would start from April 2026).
The government’s Youth Investment Fund portal opened in August 2022 and Onside advised Peterborough City Council that in order to have the best opportunity to successfully bid, an “expression of interest” in partnership with Onside should be tabled as soon as possible, probably in October. or November 2022.