Croydon’s Legacy Youth Zone is celebrating its first birthday!
Since the grand opening in 2019, the facility has seen over 5,600 young people walk through its doors. During lockdown, the Youth Zone also had to drastically reshape its seven-day-a-week offer to support local young people and families in the Croydon community.
Legacy Youth Zone, which is located on Whitehorse Road in Selhurst, is a £6.5 million purpose-built youth facility and part of the nationwide network of OnSide Youth Zones. It provides members aged 8-19 (and up to 25 with additional needs), with access to facilities and activities such as an indoor climbing wall, sports hall, fully equipped gym, arts & crafts room, music room with recording studio, training kitchen, 3G kick pitch, dance & drama studio, and much more – all for just £5 annual membership and 50p per visit.
Crucially, the Youth Zone has a dedicated team of youth workers who are on hand to offer support to young people.
As a charity, Legacy Youth Zone relies heavily on support from the private sector to raise money for its £1.6million per year running costs, with Croydon Council also contributing £300,000 towards that sum. In its first year, Legacy has secured 20 Founder Patrons, which consist of local businesses, trusts and foundations. to help generate this money.
Legacy also works closely with the police, Reaching Higher, WBC, Youth Offending Service, Off the Record, Victim Support amongst others.
Before Covid struck, Legacy Youth Zone’s fully inclusive offer saw young people make over 1,000 visits per week with separate sessions for 8-12 and 13-19 year olds. But with lockdown forcing its doors to be closed, the Youth Zone quickly adapted its offer to provide digital support and activities.
The Youth Zone also distributed over 7,600 meals to support the local community, including the elderly, those with additional needs, those having to self-isolate due to health conditions, those living in supported living or hostels, and valued young people and families.
With support from one of the Youth Zone’s Founder Patrons, 45 laptops were distributed to disadvantaged young people who urgently needed access to a computer at home to complete their schoolwork. This was made possible thanks to a hugely generous donation from a supporter.
The Youth Zone has now reopened its doors to young people, with sessions having to be booked online to ensure that numbers are restricted and in line with social distancing guidelines. Staff and young people celebrated the Youth Zone’s first birthday on Monday with special musical performances which were streamed live over YouTube.
Legacy Youth Zone Chief Executive Barnabas Shelbourne said: “We are incredibly proud of what we have been able to achieve in our first year with the help of supporters, staff and volunteers for our young members, especially during the unfortunate COVID-19 pandemic which saw a nationwide lockdown.”
The impact we’ve been able to have wouldn’t have been possible without our amazing staff team who we call the Green Machine and their endless hard work and dedication.”
Legacy Youth Zone members Neriah & Assana Lawrence said: “Legacy to me is very important because it has helped me with my socials skills and communicating with other people my age and my highlight of Legacy is that it has taken me on amazing trips such as the Capital Extra Festival and I love that it gives us opportunities to go to places”.
“Legacy has also brought me joy and happiness and I got to meet other kids my age and met new friends, it has also helped me with my maths and English and I enjoy being at Legacy”.
To find out more about Legacy Youth Zone, sign up as a member, book a session or to donate to our cause, then please visit www.legacyyouthzone.org