Croydon’s young people have moved one step closer to walking through the doors of their state-of-the-art £6.5million OnSide Youth Zone, after building work began this week.

A special ground-breaking ceremony at the Youth Zone site in Selhurst welcomed many of the project’s funders to witness the first sod being cut by a 10-foot spade. They were joined by members of OnSide’s Croydon young people’s development group which has been integral in the planning of the Youth Zone.

The centre, which is being developed by the national charity OnSide, will boast a wide array of facilities and activities for young people aged eight to 19 – or up to 25 with additional needs – including sports in the four-court sports hall, 3G kick pitch, fitness suite and martial arts area as well as art, music, dance, drama, cookery, enterprise and employability opportunities and much more.

The ground-breaking ceremony took place following the demolition of the former Whitehorse Youth Centre which once stood on the site, which is located on the junction of Whitehorse Road and Boulogne Road.

Croydon Council is funding £3.25million towards the construction costs with the remainder being sourced by OnSide from a number of external contributers including the Queen’s Trust, the Stone Family Foundation, Fidelity Foundation and UBS, Vistra and the Seroussi Foundation. The Council has also committed to funding £300,000 per yer as part of the annual £1million running costs. OnSide is committed to raising the remainder of this from private sector philanthropy.

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