There were smiles all round this weekend as over 1,800 people celebrated the official opening of Croydon’s Legacy Youth Zone on Saturday 7th September.
The carnival-themed grand opening of offered everyone from across the Croydon community the opportunity to see what is on offer for young people inside the £6.5million facility.
Based on the successful OnSide Youth Zones model, Legacy offers young people with over 20 activities 7 days a week. For an annual member of £5 then just 50p per visit, young people have access to an indoor climbing wall, four-court sports hall, fully equipped gym, 3G all-weather pitch, music room with recording suite, training kitchen, dance studio, health and well-being room, arts and crafts area and much more.
The charity is already proving popular with young people as over two thousand young people had already signed up as members before Legacy’s official opening.
During a ribbon cutting ceremony, the Youth Zone was marked officially open by key stakeholders and young people. Guests heard from Angel Chizea as she shared a touching speech about her involvement with the charity.
She said: “As a young person that grew up and is still growing up in Croydon, Legacy Is more than somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk to. Its more than a youth centre, or Youth Zone as we like to call it. Legacy is a home for not only me but all the young people that make up the Youth Zone as it is.”
Barnabas Shelbourne, Chief Executive at Legacy Youth Zone said: “Legacy Youth Zone’s official opening day was an incredible day enjoyed by young people, families and the wider community. Now open, Legacy belongs to young people, it is a place where they can discover their talent, develop their skills and raise their aspirations. I want to say a huge thank-you to all of Legacy’s Capital Funders and Founder Patrons for turning this dream into a reality, giving young people in Croydon somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk to.”
The initial £6.5million building costs have been joint funded by a number of partners; Croydon Council contributed £3.25million with the remainder being sourced by OnSide from a number of contributors including the Queen’s Trust, the Stone Family Foundation and The Seroussi Foundation via UBS Optimus Foundation.
The Youth Zone’s annual running costs are supported by several founder patrons – a group of businesses and philanthropists who have pledged over £1m per year. Croydon Council will also contribute £300,000 to the Youth Zone’s annual running costs.
Councillor Tony Newman, Leader of Croydon Council, said: “We have 93,000 under 18s in our borough – more young people than anywhere in else in London – and we promised them we would be ambitious for them. We are proud to have invested in this fantastic facility, and together with our partners, to create a true Legacy for young people in Croydon.”
Cllr Alisa Flemming, cabinet member for children, young people and learning, said: “Croydon’s young people have limitless potential and the new Legacy Youth Zone will help them unlock this. By investing in this stunning new Youth Zone, and working with OnSide and all the young people who have worked so hard to make this happen, we are helping them to reach their full potential, by giving them access to new opportunities, new experiences, and a truly amazing place to have fun, make friends. Together we are creating a true Legacy for young people in Croydon.”
The Youth Zone will now be open seven days a week with different sessions for juniors (8-12) and seniors (13-19 and up to 25 for those with additional needs).