Planning permission granted for Thurrock Youth Zone

Mick Ferris

National youth charity OnSide has received planning approval for a new Youth Zone in Thurrock.

The state-of-the-art youth centre will provide young people with opportunities to engage in activities and access support from trained youth workers, helping them to develop their skills and reach their full potential.

Expected to open in 2025 on Anchor Fields, Tilbury, Thurrock Council will lease the site to the Youth Zone, which will be run as an independent, local charity. It will be open to young people aged between eight and 19, and up to 25 for those with additional needs, seven days a week.

For a £5 annual membership, plus 50p per visit, young people will have access to facilities including a sports hall, 3G outdoor kick pitch, fitness suite with boxing and martial arts facilities, as well as a music room with a built-in recording studio, arts and crafts area, climbing wall, dance studio, sensory room and mentoring kitchen.

Hot meals will be available for just £1 from the Youth Zone’s café.

Trained youth workers and dedicated volunteers will be available seven days a week to offer guidance and support to help Thurrock’s young people to thrive. It will create a number of full and part-time jobs and many volunteering opportunities.

Thurrock Youth Zone is being delivered by OnSide, in partnership with Thurrock Council and Tilbury Towns Fund Board who will be contributing towards the building and running costs. OnSide has committed to fundraising towards the remaining costs.

OnSide chief executive Jamie Masraff said: “This is a huge milestone and an exciting step towards a Youth Zone for Thurrock’s young people.”

Cllr Andrew Jefferies, leader of Thurrock Council, said: “This is an extremely positive step in creating what I am sure will be an excellent facility for young people across Thurrock.”

Local young people will have the opportunity to get involved in helping to shape their new Youth Zone. Working in partnership with the council and existing providers, OnSide will soon set up a Young People’s Development Group of local young people who will meet regularly to make key decisions for the Youth Zone, including supporting with the design and branding and interviewing potential staff members.

Mick Ferris

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