The Youth Zone, which was named WEST (standing for Where Everyone Sticks Together) after a vote by nearly 3,000 local young people, is being developed by the national charity OnSide, which has a network of 14 similar centres across the UK.
Once developed, it will be run as an independent, local charity as a unique partnership between young people and their community, local authorities and private business leadership.
Open seven days a week, WEST will provide young people aged 8-19 (and up to 25 for those with additional needs) affordable access to a wide range of programmes, services and activities including sports, arts, music, employability and mentoring. Membership will cost £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 a Founder Patron, Westfield will contribute towards the charity’s annual £1.3million running costs.
This commitment forms part of Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield’s UK Community Resilience Programme – a five-year action plan that consolidates all the company’s work in its communities aligned to URW’s global ‘Better Places 2030’ strategy.
Achieving this target within the Better Places strategy involved each centre in the Westfield portfolio conducting a comprehensive audit of local stakeholders as well as identifying the key challenges facing the local communities. This audit paved the way for identifying the right local partners to work with based on key community needs and how Westfield centres would be best placed to support those needs. The Community Resilience Programme will result in designing relevant projects which enable the communities to flourish.
Westfield London, the UK’s leading retail and leisure destination, has pledged its support to Hammersmith and Fulham’s young people by becoming a Founder Patron of the borough’s new OnSide Youth Zone.
Work on the WEST Youth Zone began last month and is due to open in 2023 as part of EdCity, a new £150m not-for-profit regeneration scheme in White City that will bring improved community facilities, new affordable homes and an innovative education hub to White City in west London.
Mark Davies, Chair of WEST Youth Zone said: “We are absolutely delighted that Westfield is supporting WEST Youth Zone. We are at a very exciting time with work beginning on site, so to receive this incredible support from Westfield and all our other Founder Patrons is especially pleasing. WEST will give young people somewhere safe and inspirational to spend their leisure time with so many exciting things to do and trained youth workers to talk to.”
Jacinta Roswell, General Manager of Westfield London said: “We are delighted to support WEST Youth Zone, this state of the art facility will provide a space for local young people to learn and develop new skills in a safe and secure environment. In line with our group’s Better Places 2030 strategy, we’re committed to making a positive impact on the lives of current and future residents and communities.”
As well as WEST 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, office space and 132 new homes.