Business and community leaders are backing a bid to raise £250,000 a year for a brand new ‘Youth Zone Darwen’ project.
The scheme, being led by Blackburn Youth Zone, would see Meeting Places in the town centre transformed into a state-of-the-art facility for Darwen’s young people.
Sessions would also be held at AFC Darwen, DACA’s Sport Centre, Darwen Library Theatre and Junction 4 Skatepark.
The fundraising drive is being proudly led by Youth Zone Trustee and Darwen Town Deal Chair, Wayne Wild, who revealed the plans at a special fundraising launch.
Wayne, who carved out a successful career as Group Commercial Director for WEC Group – one of Darwen’s biggest employers, said: “This is an incredibly exciting time for Darwen with £25m of Government Town Deal funding secured for ambitious regeneration plans across the town.
“Boosted by funding from Blackburn with Darwen Council and private investment, it’ll see more than £90m of improvements in the town over the next five years.
“The Town Deal is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – one that will change lives – and we need to invest in our young people to make sure they can make the very most of the opportunities created.
“The new Youth Zone Darwen scheme is a chance to create something fantastic in the town – somewhere youngsters can go to socialise and have fun but also somewhere where they can learn new skills and be inspired to reach their full potential.
“I’m really proud to be part of this project and excited about the difference we can all make together.”
The fundraising drive is being led by Youth Zone with the support of Blackburn with Darwen Council, private businesses, charitable trusts and education providers.
The aim is to raise at least £250,000 a year to create and sustain an offer that Darwen’s youngsters deserve.
Chief Executive of Blackburn Youth Zone, Hannah Allen said: “Darwen’s young people need somewhere safe and exciting to spend their spare time.
“Our current youth club in Darwen is so busy we’re having to turn some young people away, and funding constraints mean we can’t open every day. We really want to change this.
“Our new plans will create a dedicated and fun space with affordable activities available seven nights a week. It will be a centre we can all be proud of.”
A temporary Youth Zone Darwen launched at Meeting Places in response to the pandemic. And, it’s already proven to be a success with more than 350 young people using the facilities each week.
To be able to make the service permanent and upgrade the facilities – formerly a nightclub – the project needs individuals and businesses leaders to help raise the £250,000 it will cost to run each year.
The concept, which has already proven successful at Blackburn Youth Zone, relies on influential members of the community becoming Patrons – investing in the future of thousands of young Darreners.
Councillor Phil Riley, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council’s Executive Member for Growth and Development and Deputy Chair of the Darwen Town Deal Board, said: “We know that we can achieve so much more when we work together to make a real difference.
“We’re embarking on huge regeneration plans for Darwen – improving the lives for all of the town’s residents and its future generations.
“Youth Zone Darwen is a chance for the community and businesses to come together to inspire our youngsters, equip them with skills they need and help build a really strong workforce for the future.”
To find out more about Youth Zone Darwen, how to become a Patron or donate, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also view a weekly timetable of the current activities by visiting: www.blackburnyz.org