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Lancashire energy specialist Businesswise Solutions is the latest company to pledge its support to Blackburn Youth Zone.

The Nelson-based energy procurement expert has become a patron of the centre, committing £36,000 in support over three years. Blackburn Youth Zone opened in June 2010 at a cost of £6m and, before Covid, would provide activities to 1,000 young people a week.

The facility is open seven days a week, 365 days of the year outside of school times but costs £1m a year to keep open – half of which comes from local businesses.

Frazer Durris, CEO of Businesswise Solutions, and his fellow co-founder Dean Cockett attended the Jubilee Street venue to see the company’s name added to the wall of other patrons.

They were also handed a framed certificate by Andrew Graham MBE, CEO of wallpaper manufacturer Graham & Brown and the founder of Blackburn Youth Zone.

Mr Durris said: “As a company Businesswise Solutions has a culture of always trying to do the right thing, whether that’s our mission to become carbon zero or supporting local good causes.

“Businesswise Solutions and the Blackburn Youth Zone both opened in 2010 and becoming a patron seemed like a very natural fit.

“£36,000 is a lot of money but when you visit the centre and see the way it changes young people’s lives you realise it’s money well spent.”

Mr Graham was inspired to set up Blackburn Youth Zone after a meeting with Bill Holroyd, founder of OnSide Youth Zones.

“As soon as I was given a tour of the Bolton Lads and Girls Club I was hooked and determined to open something similar in Blackburn,” he said.

The facility is spread over three floors and provides a range of activities including a football pitch on the roof.

Mr Graham said: “It gives young people the chance to be aspirational and it gives local businesses the chance to invest back in their community for the benefit of the families that work for them.

“We’ve created a business network around Blackburn Youth Zone and we’re delighted Businesswise Solutions has got involved because it makes a huge difference to people’s lives.

“Every year we have to find £1m to cover the running costs and 50 per cent of that comes from private sector businesses.

“We’re always looking for new patrons so if anyone has been inspired by Businesswise Solutions I would urge them to reach out.”