WEST Supports Children’s Mental Health Week

Here at WEST Youth Zone, ensuring the safety of young people and creating an environment where they can be supported and where they can express themselves is top priority. That’s why we support Children’s Mental Health Week

What is Children’s Mental Health Week? 

Children’s Mental Health Week, taking place on the 5th – 11th of February 2024, is an awareness campaign week created by children’s mental health charity, Place2Be. The charity provides vital services including counselling, mental health support and training in UK schools. They launched the week-long initiative in 2015 to empower, equip and give a voice to every child in the UK.  

This year’s theme is ‘My Voice Matters’ which is all about empowering children and young people by providing them with the tools they need to express themselves. Allowing children to have their voices heard can make a difference by making them have a greater sense of community and heightened self-esteem, something WEST Youth Zone wants to encourage year-round.  

Why WEST Youth Zone Supports Place2Be’s Awareness Week 

WEST is taking part in Place2Be’s Children’s Mental Health Week because we prioritise the wellbeing of young individuals. We have a commitment to create a safe and nurturing space for our members where they can openly express themselves and share experiences with Youth Workers and other young people. 

OnSide’s recent research report, Generation Isolation, found that 50% of young people reported high or very high feelings of anxiety and 46% of young people having anxiety around their future. 

By endorsing Children’s Mental Health Week, we aim to raise awareness and promote discussion around the topic of mental health of our youth. Alongside this, promoting that our Youth Zone is space where children can talk about their worries and therefore helping improve anxiety and general mental health. 

WEST’s Inclusion Coordinator, Harry Wills, says: 

“Kid’s voices matter because their opinions are valid and deserve respect. As my role as a youth worker, I want to facilitate them to express themselves, encouraging them to pursue their goals. At WEST, we want to provide familiar and welcoming spaces where young people feel comfortable and have approachable staff with friendly faces and open ears, therefore helping to ease any anxieties they may have” 

How to Get Involved 

Visit Place2Be’s website to find out more about the awareness week. You will be able to download resources there to share with your children, students, or friends. Together, we can help give a voice to all young people in the UK! 

Do you want to make a difference to children’s mental health in West London? Find out more about volunteering at WEST Youth Zone here: Get Involved – Volunteer. We also have vacancies here: Get Involved – Vacancies 

To support WEST in our first year of opening, you can donate here: Support Us 

Westfield supports WEST

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.

Meet the Hammersmith and Fulham Young People’s Development Group

With news that OnSide is set to open a Youth Zone in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, we’ve set up a Young People’s Development Group in the area.

This fantastic group will work with the charity to help us understand exactly what issues young people in the borough are facing to enable us to ensure we give them the best possible offer when their Youth Zone opens.

They will also work with OnSide to come up with the brand and identity for the Youth Zone, to promote the facility across Hammersmith & Fulham, interviewing staff and much more. They’ve already spent time visiting other Youth Zones across the network and will get many more opportunities to do that again.

The founding members are Brandy and brothers Tyrek, Tayjean and Trayquarn.

Brandy said: “We meet up every week and talk about Youth Zones as well as presenting to other groups in the local area as well as going on residentials.”

Trayquarn said: “I’m really looking to the new Youth Zone opening because I will be able to get involved in different activities that I don’t usually do in school.”

Tayjean said: “My favourite thing about Youth Zones is everything! It has a music room – I like playing drums – and it’s great for kids to have an amazing experience.”

Tyrek said: “A Youth Zone in Hammersmith and Fulham will be really good, it will get a lot of young people to get off the streets and into the Youth Zone. I’d tell all the other young people in Hammersmith and Fulham to get involved with the Development Group because it’s a great experience.”

Hammersmith and Fulham Youth Zone will be part of an innovative education hub, known as EdCity, with a  new school, nursery, adult education centre and affordable housing in White City.

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.

If you want to be a part of the Hammersmith and Fulham Young People’s Development Group, contact Mark Blundell on 07734889308 or email mark.blundell@onsideyouthzones.org.

Green light for multi-million education and charity hub

Hammersmith and Fulham Borough Council last night approved a proposal for a major new education charity hub – paving the way for a scheme that will benefit thousands of children and young people for years to come and help to regenerate the White City area.

The EdCity development was brought forward by the education charity Ark and by Hammersmith and Fulham Borough Council. When complete, it will provide shared office space for mission-aligned charities, as well as a primary school, a nursery, new youth facilities, an adult education centre and new affordable homes.

EdCity will create:

A new building for Ark Swift Primary Academy, with brand new facilities including outdoor learning spaces, improved IT, sports, and performing arts facilities. Ark Swift Primary Academy is rated Good by Ofsted

An improved Harmony Neighbourhood Nursery, nearly doubling its capacity and providing much-needed early years education in the local area. Harmony is rated Outstanding by Ofsted

The new OnSide Youth Zone, named WEST by local young people, that will offer an array of after-school, weekend and evening activities and opportunities for the local community aged between 8 and 19, including those aged up to 25 with a disability.

An expanded and transformed adult education and community learning centre– providing training and learning opportunities for local residents

132 new homes,more than half of which will be genuinely affordablefor local people and key workers including teachers

A new hubfor education charities, providing office and collaboration space for Ark and mission-aligned organisations

A new boulevard and public square, providing better walking and cycling routes fromthe White City estate in the west to the redeveloped business district and transport hub in the east, as well as public space for the community to use

The redeveloped primary school will be completed in 2021, with EdCity fully finished in 2023. Ark and the Council are sharing the funding of the £120m project.

Lucy Heller, Chief Executive of Ark, said:  “We are delighted that EdCity has been approved. We are looking forward to working in partnership with Hammersmith and Fulham Borough Council and others to provide better opportunities for children locally, in London and beyond.”

Mark Davies, Chair of Hammersmith and Fulham Youth Zone, said: “We are extremely excited to open West London’s first OnSide Youth Zone in White City. It will give young people somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk to.”

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.