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Youth Zone Darwen Fundraising tops £500,000!


Back in January 2022 Blackburn & Darwen Youth Zone and the Darwen Business community, made a joint commitment to provide high-quality activities, 7 days a week, for the young people of Darwen. 

With the support and leadership of Wayne Wild, chair of the Darwen Town Deal, the Youth Zone Darwen concept was born. Since that day, local businesses have come together to get behind the initiative and an initial target of £250,000 was raised within 6 months of concept, enabling a move towards a more permanent Youth Zone footprint across the Town covering every day of the week.

Once the 7 day a week youth activities offer was established, the demand was such that the new and growing list of business Patrons wished to ensure this vital resource was not lost. With considerable hard work, enthusiasm and commitment to the project, they were able to raise a further £250,000 to match the original investment. This will ensure that these vital youth services will continue well into 2024 and hopefully beyond.


Wayne Wild, Youth Zone Darwen Trustee, Founder and Chair of the Darwen Town Deal said of the programme: 

Youth Zone Darwen is helping change lives. It inspires youngsters to be the best versions of themselves and raises their aspirations above and beyond what they think is possible. 

At the start of last year we set out to raise £250,000 to ensure the Youth Zone Darwen youth activities offer could gain a foothold in the Town. We achieved this but had the ambition to make our own Youth Zone a permanent feature of the Town.

I am delighted to report that, with an incredible effort and commitment of the local business community, we have doubled the original investment enabling us to plan for 2024 and beyond.  

This would not have been possible without vital support of our growing band of Youth Zone Darwen Patrons and an innovative borough council who is always ready to listen.

It is plain for all to see, the difference our Youth Zone is making. As a Dad myself, I’m proud to see the service continue to go from strength-to-strength. I want to remind anyone who will listen that this is just the start.”


David Kay from Darwen-based J&A Kay Ltd, is the 15th, (and most recent) Patron to pledge their support for the Movement. He simply states:

“Youth Zone Darwen is a brilliant idea and much needed in our Town. It has helped literally hundreds of youngsters so far by offering them somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk to. This should be a basic right of all young people and we want to be involved every step of the way. After all, these will be our employees of the future and it makes good business sense to give them the best start in life.”

During 2022, more than 700 young people signed up for membership of Youth Zone Darwen and since this time, the service has welcomed these young people during more than 14,000 visits! Additionally, over 3,000 free hot meals have been provided to local young people to alleviate some of the hardship their families face during this cost of living crisis. The Youth Employability Hub, operating from Meeting Places in the Town centre, has also supported over 50 young people into employment since the initiative was launched.

The charity additionally delivers sessions at Junction4 Skatepark, Darwen FC, Darwen Leisure Centre as well as in the many public open spaces, parks and multi use games areas (MUGAs), across the Town.

Hannah Allen, Chief Executive of Blackburn & Darwen Youth Zone said 

the initiative: 

“After seeing the impact that Youth Zone Darwen had during the pandemic and the difference we were able to make, we would’ve been devastated to have had to close our doors. Thanks to a lot of effort on Wayne’s part and the magnificent support from our Patrons and Partners, not only have we been able to stay open, but our future is assured way into 2024 and beyond.

This is a fantastic example of a community coming together to support young people and it’s been brilliant to be part of this growing Movement. 

At Youth Zone Darwen our young people have access to safe and inspiring places and our sessions are designed to raise aspirations and build skills for life. An additional consequence of our work, particularly during our detached and outreach activities, has also been to reduce anti-social behaviour and support the most vulnerable in our community. 

Together as a Town, we are making a real difference to young lives every single day and I’m incredibly proud of everyone involved.”

Find out more at:

Youth Zone Darwen welcomes children and young people aged 8 to 19 and offers a safe and supportive environment for them to thrive. 

Youth Zone Darwen Patrons include:

Herbert Parkinson Ltd

Multevo Ltd

Watson Ramsbottom Ltd

SUEZ Recycling & Recovery Ltd

WEC Group

J&A Kay Ltd

Crown Paints

Brookhouse Aerospace Ltd

Kay Group

Vampire Vape

Darwen Bars and Leisure Ltd

S Murphy Ltd

Liberty Flights Ltd

The Cardboard Box Company

Symclean Industrial Ltd


To find out more about Youth Zone Darwen and what’s on, please click here.

To find out more about becoming a Patron, please email: