My name is Rhys, a first time dad blogging about my adventures and experiences of being a parent. [email protected]

Cardiff Council plans to create Wales’ first Youth Zone

Cardiff Council is planning to create Wales’ first Youth Zone in Ely as part of exciting new plans for youth services in the city.

Youth Zones – purpose-built, state-of-the-art hubs offering youngsters affordable access to a wide range of sports, cultural and leisure activities – are already proving popular at 14 locations across England.

They are set up initially through the OnSide charity, using a mixture of donations alongside government and local authority grants. Once they are up and running, responsibility for them is passed on to newly-created local charities.

Entry fees at an average Youth Zone cost around 50 pence a day and a typical centre can give young people the opportunity to enjoy a wide variety of facilities including:

  • A music room, complete with instruments and recording equipment
  • A state-of-the-art gym and sports hall
  • An all-weather football pitch
  • A climbing wall, and
  • A fully-equipped kitchen

Cllr Sarah Merry, Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills, said: “The Youth Zone concept looks like an exciting opportunity which we are keen to explore in detail. We already have fantastic youth services in Cardiff, which rightly won praise in a recent Estyn report, but we are always looking for opportunities to improve and expand provision. This is a really interesting proposal which dovetails with our UNICEF Child-Friendly City work.”

Cllr Lynda Thorne, Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, added: “The Youth Zones we’ve looked at have been a great success, offering fantastic facilities and activities for young people. They encourage local ownership and a sense of pride and have been seen as a positive force for good in communities. I’m looking forward to learning more about the positive impact they are having on communities and on how we can make it work for Cardiff.”

Research has shown that Youth Zones bring a range of benefits to the wider community, including:

  • Better health and well-being;
  • Improved school attendance;
  • A 50-70% reduction in crime and anti-social behaviour; and
  • Enhanced skills and employability.

To pay for the Youth Zone, the Council is planning to access the UK Government’s £4.8bn Levelling Up Fund and the Shared Prosperity Fund, created to replace the £375m that Wales received each year from the EU. If funds are secured, building costs would be shared equally between the charity and the council with the council providing a site to bring the project to the planning approval stage.

Cardiff Council’s Cabinet will discuss embarking on a detailed business case for the Youth Zone and where it could be based at its next meeting on Thursday, March 10.