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Construction Starts on Preston Youth Zone

28 June 2024

Construction is underway on Preston Youth Zone, which also has a new name following a city-wide vote of over 2,000 young people.

The Youth Zone's development group, consisting of young people from across Preston, had created two brands for others to choose between. They revealed the winning name to be The Vault, ahead of a special groundbreaking ceremony at the Youth Zone's town centre site on Wednesday.

The event, hosted by the charity's chair Guy Topping and CEO Tim Jacques, launched the exciting new phase for the Youth Zone. Contractors Triton Construction will now begin work building the multi-million-pound centre, which will open next autumn.

Using a giant spade, supplied by Barton Grange Garden Centre, young people cut the first hole in the ground.

Mr Topping said:

"This is a momentous occasion - it's fantastic to break ground and build this special space for Preston's young people. It will give them somewhere safe and inspirational to go in their leisure time to try new activities, develop skills and make friends.

"We've waited a long time to get to this stage but in many ways this is just the beginning as we take a huge step closer to opening to thousands of young people from across the city. I am so grateful to everyone who has helped us on this journey, turning the dream of a Youth Zone in Preston into a reality."

Mr Jacques added:

"I feel very proud to be CEO of this brilliant charity, one which will change the lives of so many young people in Preston.

"The Youth Zone will be a place they deserve with incredible facilities and a team of dedicated youth workers offering vital support and guidance. It was great to see our development group unveil our fantastic new brand and I want to thank the 2,000 young people across Preston who took part in the vote.

"We've had so many brilliant people back this project but we are still actively fundraising for the  remainder of our annual running costs, so we'd appeal to any local businesses who want to support Preston's young people to get in contact."

Adrian Phillips, Preston City Council's chief executive added:

"The Youth Zone will add to the City's ongoing physical transformation but more importantly the social regeneration of Preston too."

The Youth Zone also forms one of the six key programmes in Preston's £200 million regeneration of the Harris Quarter.

John Chesworth, Chair of Preston Towns Fund Strategic Board, concluded: 

"It's fantastic to see the start of a much-needed asset in the City. The Youth Zone has been in the planning stage for a long time, but we can now see Guy's vision become a reality. As a proud Prestonian, it's something that I believe will provide many opportunities to our young people and give them a future while also contributing to the physical transformation of the Harris Quarter."

The Vault is being developed by national charity OnSide, which currently has 15 similar Youth Zones across the UK. Preston's will be one of six to open in 2025 and will boast a wide range of state-of-the-art facilities.

These include a climbing wall, music room and recording studio, gym, health and wellbeing room, performing arts studio, boxing and martial arts gym, a four-court sports hall, 3G pitch, media room with podcast recording facilities, a café serving hot meals for just £1 and much more. Young people will pay just £5 annual membership and 50p per visit.

The Youth Zone will be funded by a range of sources, including private sector contributions, and the charity is actively fundraising for its annual running costs.

Further information

Towns Fund - Town Deals

On 27 July 2019, the Prime Minister announced that the Towns Fund would support an initial 101 places across England to develop Town Deal proposals, to drive economic regeneration and deliver long-term economic and productivity growth. See further details of the announcement.

Preston's City Investment Plan is a 15-year vision for Preston, setting out Preston's long-term objectives and strategy to transform the City, targeting resources and aligning public and private sector investments to respond to needs and capitalise on opportunities for positive change.

Preston City Council actively applies and prioritises the principles of Community Wealth Building wherever applicable and appropriate. Community Wealth Building is an approach which aims to ensure the economic system builds wealth and prosperity for everyone. For more information, please see: www.prestoncommunitywealth.org 

Projects included in Preston's £200 million Harris Quarter Towns Fund Investment Programme are:

  • Animate - £45m multi-use entertainment and leisure complex anchored by a state-of-the-art cinema and bowling venue next to Preston Markets
  • Educate Preston: The creation of a new Careers and Employment, Information, Advice and Guidance Hub in the Harris Quarter.
  • Renewal of Harris Quarter Assets: Investment to support the redevelopment of publicly-owned buildings in the Harris Quarter to support new cultural and community uses, including Amounderness House.
  • Illuminate and Integrate: A project to deliver improved pedestrian and cycleway infrastructure, street lighting and other public realm improvements within the Harris Quarter.
  • Preston Youth Zone: The development of Preston Youth Zone as a state-of-the-art facility for young people in Preston aged eight to 19.
  • #HarrisYourPlace: The refurbishment of the Grade I listed Harris Museum, Art Gallery & Library, enhancing and protecting the building for future generations.
  • Preston Pop Ups: £1m pop-up programme of events bringing together new temporary event space, artworks and improvements to public realm infrastructure, aimed at boosting visitor activity in the Harris Quarter