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London Gatwick has become a Founder Patron of Croydon’s newly-opened Legacy Youth Zone – a £6.5 million state-of-the-art facility built especially for young people living in the local community.

Gatwick’s community programme includes a strong focus on inspiring and investing in young people, with projects ongoing across the counties which surround the airport. This new partnership will see the airport donate £25,000 to Legacy per year for the next three years.

Legacy provides support for young people aged 8 to 19 and up to 25 with additional needs. The centre offers over 20 activities every night including sports, arts, music, media, dance, drama and cookery – for just 50p per visit, 7 days a week. Croydon is a short train journey away from the airport, with many Gatwick employees living in and around the area.

Stewart Wingate, Chief Executive Officer at London Gatwick, said: “Gatwick agreed to become a Founder Patron of Legacy Youth Zone in a bid to make a positive change in the Croydon area. We have been inspired by the Legacy Youth Zone’s aims to support young people to live healthier, happier lives which fits perfectly with Gatwick’s determination to inspire and invest in the next generation.”

Nick Sleep, Chair of Legacy Youth Zone said: “We are thrilled to welcome Gatwick Airport to our family of Founder Patrons, with their support the sky really is the limit for local young people. Gatwick Airport’s generous gift to Croydon’s young people will provide thousands of young people with somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk to for generations to come.”

Sarah Jones, Member of Parliament for Croydon Central, said: “It’s encouraging to see large businesses like Gatwick making such a positive contribution to their local communities. Legacy is set to become a central part of Croydon’s community and Gatwick’s support will help ensure its ongoing success.”

The new centre is based on the successful OnSide Youth Zones model which brings together the local authority, private sector, voluntary sector and local community in support of young people.

The airport is keen to work with projects that offer inclusive activities, in keeping with its mission to be the UK’s most accessible airport. Legacy staff are trained to tailor activities to ensure everyone can join in and feel welcome – no matter what their individual needs are.

Supporting the future careers of young people is another key area of focus for Gatwick, with the airport running many educational outreach projects and an employability course. Gatwick staff regularly work with children to engage and inspire them in careers at the airport and more broadly in Science, Maths, Engineering and Technology (STEM) and the aim is to amplify this as part of its new role in the Legacy Youth Zone.

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