Photo gallery: Steel frame complete

Construction on WEST Youth Zone has reached its first big landmark, with the completion of the building’s steel frame.

Contractors Bowmer and Kirkland began work on the Youth Zone, which is being developed by the national charity OnSide, earlier this year and it’s due to be completed late next year.

The development will continue with the floors, staircases and roofing in the coming months.

The White City site is a hive of activity, with construction also ongoing on the rest of the EdCity scheme, which the Youth Zone is a part of.

Once open, the Youth Zone will offer Hammersmith and Fulham’s young people a range of weekend and evening activities and opportunities, with facilities including a four-court sports hall, arts and crafts area, climbing wall, music room, dance studio, rooftop 3G pitch and much more, all for just £5 annual membership and 50p per visit. 

EdCity will bring significant improvements to the neighbourhood and will also include: 

  • A new, modern building for a new Ark primary school bringing together Ark Swift Primary Academy and Ark Burlington Danes.
  • Over 130 new affordable homes in an area of high housing need;  
  • A new building for Harmony Nursery. 
  • An expanded adult education and community learning centre providing training and learning opportunities for local residents.
  • A new 100,000sq ft office space for up to 1,000 jobs and a new permanent home for Ark and other organisations and businesses.
  • A new landscaped public square with a pedestrian and cycle route, directly linking existing residential areas to the redeveloped White City business and transport hubs. 

It’s been amazing to see the Youth Zone shoot up so quickly. There is obviously still some way to go with the build, but seeing the frame of the building really gives you an insight into its huge scale. Just to think that in little over a year’s time, it will be full of young people enjoying themselves, trying new activities, finding new talents and making friends, is fantastic.

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Mark Davies

Chair, WEST Youth Zone

The centre will be run as an independent charity and will become the 15th Youth Zone in OnSide’s growing network.

Before the pandemic, OnSide formed a Development Group consisting of local young people from Hammersmith and Fulham to make a number of key decisions for the Youth Zone. Their first job was to pick the centre’s name, WEST, standing for ‘Where Everyone Sticks Together’. 

OnSide is now looking to relaunch the group and is inviting any young person from the borough to sign up and be involved with other elements such as interior design, staff interviews, local promotion and much more.

Anyone interested should email shineade.burton@onsideyouthzones.org.

Supporters visit WEST Youth Zone site

Supporters of WEST Youth Zone were welcomed onto the construction site for a sneak peek at progress being made.

Guests were given an update by WEST Chair Mark Davies and OnSide Deputy Chief Executive Rob Carter about the project and Hammersmith & Fulham Council Leader Steve Cowan also spoke about why he believes the Youth Zone will transform lives.

WEST (which stands for Where Everyone Sticks Together) was given its name by local young people.

Once open, the Youth Zone will offer a range of weekend and evening activities and opportunities with facilities including a four-court sports hall, arts and crafts area, climbing wall, music room, dance studio and much more, all for just £5 annual membership and 50p per visit.

Also on site were representatives from Ark, including chief executive, Lucy Heller, to see the progress being made on the wider EdCity scheme which the Youth Zone is a part of.

Mark Davies, Chair of WEST Youth Zone, said: “We were delighted to welcome our wonderful supporters to the site and to see the great progress being made. EdCity is such an exciting project and we are really proud to be a part of it. WEST will transform the lives of thousands of young people, giving them an opportunity to find new skills, make new friends and seek support from dedicated youth workers.”

The scheme is being delivered by EdCity Development Ltd (ECDL) and funded by Hammersmith & Fulham Council and Ark, a national education charity with nine schools in West London. 

The scheme will bring significant improvements to the neighbourhood and include: 

  • a new, modern building for a new Ark primary school bringing together Ark Swift Primary Academy and Ark Burlington Danes;  
  • 132 new affordable homes in an area of high housing need;  
  • a state-of-the art OnSide Youth Zone called West providing activities and opportunities for local young people; 
  • a new building for Harmony Nursery;  
  • an expanded adult education and community learning centre providing training and learning opportunities for local residents;  
  • a new 100,000sq ft office space for up to 1,000 jobs and a new permanent home for Ark and other organisations and businesses;  
  • a new landscaped public square with a pedestrian and cycle route, directly linking existing residential areas to the redeveloped White City business and transport hubs. 

Work to clear and prepare the White City site began in the summer last year and construction work is being carried out by Bowmer & Kirkland. The completion of the first phase, including the opening of the new school, is due in September 2023. 

Ark CEO, Lucy Heller, said: “It is exciting to mark this moment at the start of construction of the new school and other community facilities. Ark has been part of the White City community for many years, and this development will bring tangible benefits to all.” 

Hammersmith and Fulham Council Leader Cllr Stephen Cowan said: “This project will deliver, for people of all ages in White City, the very best in education and training – to give them access to the most amazing business start-up and rapidly emerging hotspot for STEM, medicine, and media enterprises. This project brings tangible benefits to the local community, with a new school and nursery, a Youth Zone and improved adult education services. There will be new, affordable homes for local people, improvements to public areas and jobs will be relocated here. That is why we made a multi-million-pound investment, and I am delighted the work here is now under way.”

EdCity is an exciting addition to the White City Innovation District and was recently recognised in Upstream’s Impact and Innovation 110 organisations, The prestigious list highlights science, technology, and creative businesses such as Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, BBC Studios, The Royal College of Art, and Novartis UK, all local to Hammersmith and Fulham who are making a positive impact in their field.  

Work begins on WEST

Work is now underway on WEST Youth Zone and Ed City.

Diggers are now on site at South Africa Road beginning the process which will see WEST opening to Hammersmith and Fulham’s young people in 2023.

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 well as WEST Youth Zone, plans include the building of a new primary school, nursery and adult education centre, as well as 132 affordable homes. A modern office building will become the future home of Ark and other organisations. 

Work to begin on EdCity

Work is set to begin on EdCity, the £150m not-for-profit regeneration scheme that will include WEST Youth Zone in Hammersmith and Fulham, this month.

This follows approval of an agreement between Ark, a national education charity, and Hammersmith & Fulham Council (H&F).

EdCity will bring improved community facilities, new affordable homes and an innovative education hub to White City in west London. 

As well as WEST Youth Zone, plans include the building of a new primary school, nursery and adult education centre, as well as 132 affordable homes. A modern office building will become the future home of Ark and other organisations. 

Work will begin this month following a pause due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It will regenerate the site between South Africa Road and Australia Road and include:

  • a new building for Ark Swift Primary Academy with state-of-the art IT and modern classrooms, and access to a range of sports and performing arts facilities;
  • 132 new council-owned affordable homes for local people;
  • a new building for Harmony Nursery to increase capacity to 75 children;
  • WEST Youth Zone providing sporting, creative and social activities and opportunities for local young people;
  • an expanded adult education and community learning centre providing training and life-long learning opportunities for local residents;
  • a new 100,000 sq ft office space for up to 1,000 jobs and a new permanent home for Ark and other organisations and businesses;
  • a new landscaped public square with a pedestrian and cycle route, directly linking residential areas to the redeveloped White City business and transport hubs.

Mark Davies, Chair of WEST Youth Zone, said:

“It’s fantastic that we can now progress with this exciting development, and I am delighted that WEST Youth Zone will be a part of it. Once open, the Youth Zone will provide all young people of the borough with an amazing facility where they can take part in a wide range of activities, make new friends and gain support from our team of dedicated youth workers.”

Hammersmith and Fulham Council Leader Cllr Stephen Cowan said:

“This project will bring tangible benefits to the local community with a new school and nursery, a youth zone and improved adult education services. There will be new, affordable homes for local people, improvements to public areas and jobs will be relocated here. Partnerships are a central feature of our Industrial Strategy benefiting this previously-neglected part of the borough, so I am delighted we can now get this work under way.”

Ark CEO Lucy Heller said:

“These exciting plans will bring significant improvements to education provision in White City, including a new modern building for pupils at Ark Swift primary school. Alongside other community facilities, the scheme will also provide a new home for Ark to support our work with schools and ventures across the country and to foster collaboration with other organisations working in the wider education system.”

The office building will provide highly efficient Grade A space designed to a BREEAM rating of “Excellent”. Two floors are pre-let to Ark and its partner organisations with a further 80,000 sq ft available to rent.

The development will be carried out in two phases with initial works starting this month. Demolition will take place during the summer and autumn. The new school, Youth Zone and office will be open in the second half of 2023 as well as some of the new homes. The remaining changes will be fully completed in 2025.

The plans have been developed following local consultation and final planning approval was granted in 2020. The funding agreements were approved by H&F’s Cabinet on 5 July 2021. The scheme is jointly funded by the Ark charity and H&F and is supported by grants from central government and the GLA.

Find out more about West Youth Zone

Hammersmith and Fulham Youth Zone, named by young people as ‘West’, is a new charity that will develop a purpose-built facility for the borough’s young people aged 8 – 19, and up to 25 for those with additional needs. 

The Youth Zone will be part of a EdCity, a new Education hub based in White City.

This infrastructure of facilities is based upon OnSide’s 21st century Youth Zone model and young people from across Hammersmith and Fulham will have access to all these fantastic facilities for a cost of £5 for an annual membership and 50p per visit.

The Youth Zone will provide a safe environment where young people can come and enjoy themselves and will enable young people to raise their aspirations and confidence to create a happier and healthier generation.