Supporters and young people celebrate the beginning of work on WEST Youth Zone

Supporters and young people gathered to celebrate the beginning of work on WEST Youth Zone.

Hosted by chair Mark Davies at Scale Space in White City, guests were given an update on the project and a special insight as to what this amazing place will bring to the Hammersmith and Fulham community. 

Phillipe Andreewich, a member of the WEST Young People’s Development Group spoke passionately about what he believes a Youth Zone will bring to the borough. 

He has had the opportunity to travel to other Youth Zones across the network and also represents OnSide as a young ambassador. 

“WEST Youth Zone here in Hammersmith and Fulham is a future for young people,” he told those present. 

“I believe in the potential OnSide has in store for young people. When OnSide means access to highly trained and endearing youth workers who help to build the leaders and pioneers of tomorrow through moral and career support, to me, that’s potential. 

“When an OnSide Youth Zone means a safe and nurturing environment, a shining light in the dark blizzard of stress and boredom, in which this generation finds itself, in its ceaseless search for purpose in our rapidly evolving world. To me, that’s potential.” 

As well as Philipe, guests also heard from another inspiring young person, 15-year-old Ines Lopes who credits Unitas Youth Zone in Barnet for changing her life. 

She told her story which involved her moving over to England from Portugal without being able to speak English and how, after joining Unitas last year, it not only helped her make friends and feel at home but unlocked passions ranging from boxing to stock markets and from the gym to media. 

As well as Phillipe and Ines, other speakers included Phil Marsh, Openings Manager from OnSide who will lead the charge for WEST Youth Zone in community engagement and working with young people ahead of opening. 

Mark Sorrell, from WEST funders Goldman Sachs, also spoke about why he wanted to become involved with WEST and how a trip to Wigan Youth Zone with Mark Davies blew him away. He urged everyone in the room to get behind WEST and support however they can. 

Following the speeches, guests took walking tours of the site and were able to speak with a number of young people from the WEST Young People’s Development Group, Unitas Youth Zone and OnSide’s young ambassadors. 

A special thank-you goes to GSK for their incredible support of the event and enabling us to bring so many special supporters of WEST Youth Zone into one room. 

Young people unveil Youth Zone brand

Over 2,700 local young people have officially named Hammersmith and Fulham’s OnSide Youth Zone ‘West’.

West Youth Zone, standing for ‘Where Everyone Sticks Together’, will open in 2021 and will be part of EdCity, a major new education hub that will benefit thousands of children and young people for years to come and help to regenerate the White City area.

The exciting plans will see a purpose-built Youth Zone open seven-days-a-week, with more than 20 activities on offer every session for young people aged 8-19, or up to 25 for those with additional needs. The aim of the Youth Zone is to raise the aspirations, enhance prospects and improve health and wellbeing for young people in Hammersmith and Fulham, by providing affordable access to a wide range of programmes, services and activities including sports, arts, music, employability and mentoring.

The Youth Zone is being developed by the national charity OnSide Youth Zones, which has a network of 12 similar centres across the UK – including two that have recently opened in London in Barking and Dagenham and Barnet. A third will open in Croydon this September.

Membership will £5 a year with young people then paying just 50p each visit, which will give them access to all the facilities and activities on offer.

As well as the Youth Zone, EdCity will include a new building for Ark Swift Academy (which is currently located on the land which will be developed into EdCity), an improved Harmony Neighbourhood Nursery, an expanded and transformed adult education and community learning centre and 132 new homes.

Local young people are involved with the development of each OnSide Youth Zone from the start, with their first task being to come up with a name and logo. Numerous ideas and designs were narrowed down to just two, which then saw thousands of young people from across the borough vote on their favourite with West, representing the Youth Zone’s location in London and standing for ‘Where Everyone Sticks Together, coming out on top with 70% of the vote.

After months of hard work the Hammersmith and Fulham Young People’s Development Group, kitted out in their branded t-shirts, were joined at White City Place, close to the Youth Zone site, by the Youth Zone Chairman Mark Davies to unveil their brand.

The passionate group of young people, made up of members from local partner community groups and schools, presented their brand to over 70 guests including funders and local community groups.

Hammersmith and Fulham Youth Zone Chairman Mark Davies said: “We are extremely excited to launch West Youth Zone here in Hammersmith and Fulham. Involving young people in the development of this fantastic facility is imperative and enables them to put their stamp on somewhere they will be able to call their second home.

“West Youth Zone will give young people in Hammersmith and Fulham somewhere safe and inspirational to go in their leisure time, with some many incredible things to do as well as trained and experienced youth workers they can talk to. I am immensely proud to Chair this fantastic charity.”

The Youth Zone will be funded by a combination of local and private sector contributions, trusts and grants and young people’s admission fees.

Plans for an innovative education hub, affordable housing & new community facilities in White City take major step forward

An innovative education hub, known as EdCity, with a Youth Zone, new school, nursery, adult education centre and affordable housing will be built in White City, after Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s Planning and Development Control Committee unanimously resolved to grant planning permission.

The plans will see the site, currently occupied by Ark Swift Primary Academy, Harmony Neighbourhood Nursery and the Adult Community Learning Centre, redeveloped with state-of-the-art facilities for a replacement school, nursery and adult education centre.

In addition, OnSide and the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham are working in partnership to develop Hammersmith & Fulham Youth Zone, the first Youth Zone in west London, offering a huge range of affordable activities and inspiring sports, arts, music, mentoring and employability programmes to young people from eight to 19 (and up to 25 for those with additional needs), seven days a week.

The Youth Zone will include indoor sports facilities and a Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA) for basketball, trampolining, cricket, volleyball, badminton, table tennis and five-a-side football. The Youth Zone’s facilities will be used during school hours by the new Ark Swift Primary Academy.

EdCity will also provide affordable office space for charities and social enterprises, 71 new affordable homes and 61 homes for private rent. A landscaped boulevard connecting the White City estate to Wood Lane will be introduced, with new trees and a new public square.

Andrew McLean, Vengrove, the development manager for EdCity, said: “We are delighted that the committee recognised the significant benefits that EdCity will bring to the area, whether you are a parent looking for great education for your child, a young person looking to discover a new talent, an adult looking to learn a new skill or a charity looking for affordable office space.” 

“There are so many opportunities in H&F and more being created every day, we want everyone to be able to take advantage of them.” said Cllr Sue Macmillan H&F Cabinet Member for Children and Education.

“This is why we’re so glad we could play such a key role in this development – providing the land needed for it to go ahead and funding in the years to come. It will help give all young people their very best shot at everything life has to offer.”

Jamie Masraff, Project Director, OnSide Youth Zones, said: “This will be our first Youth Zone in west London. It will offer a high-quality, safe and affordable place for young people to go in their leisure time. From DJ-ing to rock climbing, martial arts to dance, we want to inspire and support young people, giving them a second home where they can flourish. This decision is a major milestone in bringing us significantly closer to being able to make a difference in west London.” 

Alongside other education-focused charities and social enterprises, one of the major new tenants of the affordable office space will be Ark, the education charity with a network of schools in Hammersmith and Fulham including Ark Swift Primary Academy, which will move its headquarters from central London.

Jason Marantz, the principal at Ark Swift Primary Academy, said: “This is very exciting for Ark Swift – we cannot wait to move into our new, state-of-the-art educational facilities and see our pupils benefit from all the opportunities that will be created by being part of EdCity.” 

Harmony Neighbourhood Nursery’s new facilities will allow them to expand from 45 to 75 children, offering its Ofsted-Outstanding care and early years education to more local children.

H&F Council will work with them and find temporary accommodation to ensure there will be no loss in provision for working parents while the work is taking place.

Meanwhile the council’s adult community learning centre will move into a larger, state-of-the-art facility, bringing its essential services to more people in the local area.

Jana Hassan, manager of Harmony Neighbourhood Nursery, added: “We are currently oversubscribed and so it is wonderful that we will be able to expand our Ofsted-outstanding care and early years education to more parents in White City.” 

Construction could begin this summer with the new Ark Swift Primary Academy and OnSide Youth Zone opening in 2020, the new Harmony Neighbourhood Nursery opening in 2021 and all construction work complete by 2022.

More information is available on the project website: www.edcity.org.