OnSide Youth Zones

OnSide Youth Zones

CEO Kathryn introduces you to OnSide Youth Zones

OnSide Youth Zones is a registered charity, which transforms the lives of young people through the creation of world-class, exciting spaces – our Youth Zones.

They are bright, vibrant, multi-sports/activity buildings staffed by passionate youth workers and volunteers, which offer a safe, inspiring and supportive environment that facilitates young people’s development into confident, happy and resilient adults.

OnSide is the brainchild of entrepreneur Bill Holroyd who during his time as Chair of Bolton Lads and Girls Club, recognised the outstanding value and impact of the club on young people and local communities across the town. Bill has made it his life’s ambition to replicate the BLGC ‘model’ across the country, so that thousands more young people can benefit from a first-class facility like Bolton.

Youth Zones revolve around the simple philosophy of providing young people aged 8-19, or up to 25 for those with a disability, with Somewhere to go, Something to do and Someone to talk to.

We’re working tirelessly to lead young people on a more promising path, to give them every opportunity to develop into happy, healthy, positive and aspirational adults.

OnSide has a network of 10 Youth Zones across the UK and in 2019 the charity will open its first three in London: Barking and Dagenham, Barnet and Croydon.

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Some Charity Stats

  • 45,000 members make around 500,000 visits each year to OnSide’s Youth Zones

  • The charity has pioneered a diversified funding model that has generated over £70 million in donations since 2008

  • A study into the charity’s model found that, on average, every £1 spent on running a Youth Zone delivers £2 back in benefits to society

  • Created over 500 jobs for youth workers with over 800 volunteers across the network

  • 89% of members say they feel more confident as a result of attending a Youth Zone while 80% are getting better marks in school

Impact Stories

  • Thomas

    Thanks to the specialist one-to-one support offered by youth worker, Baz at Blackburn Youth Zone, Thomas (15) is able to take part in activities alongside his friends, which he hasn’t been able to do before.

    “Thomas is severely autistic and has limited communication skills. His behaviour can be challenging and unpredictable. Since coming to the Youth Zone Thomas has gone from strength to strength. If you knew Thomas before, you would see straight away the change in him. He is now calm and collected opposed to hostile and aggressive. He is always smiling!”

  • Joe

    Joe (18), secured employment with Oldham based flatroof specialist, Primeseal after completing an employability course, Get a Job at Mahdlo.

    “It’s been fantastic, I’ve got a great new job through Mahdlo’s Get a Job scheme. I have received so much support and enthusiasm along the way. I think it is important for young people to have the opportunity to do a course like this, as it’s so hard to find a job and loads of young people struggle.”

  • Owen

    Singer-songwriter Owen (14) fulfilled a lifelong ambition to sing to thousands of fans at Wigan Athletic, thanks to support and guidance from Wigan Youth Zone staff.

    “The Youth Zone staff are always more bothered with what you want to do, not what they think you should do. Where else can you write and produce an album and music video for just 50p?”

  • Hannah

    Hannah (16) has never looked back since she started coming to The Factory. Her health and fitness have improved dramatically and she now volunteers at junior sessions and is a great ambassador for the network of OnSide Youth Zones at key events.

    “The day I started coming to The Factory my life changed. It’s the day I learnt who I was and what I was capable of. I’ve lost a ton of weight, I realised I like sport and I’m actually good at it. I now have the skills that I need to achieve my future goal of being an outward-bound instructor.”

  • Connor

    A group of senior members from Carlisle Youth Zone created an award-winning enterprise initiative, the ‘Baked Bean Project’ which saw them develop a printed recipe book of affordable meals for young mums and homeless people.

    As part of the project the group cooked one of their takeaway meals for 38 homeless people at the Salvation Army drop-in lunch.

    “The project has been really good. I’m thinking about going on to do a catering course as a result of it.”

Jobs at OnSide Youth Zones