From education to employment

New youth zone is now on the ‘horizon’

The new Youth Zone, named Horizon by local young people, is a step closer to becoming a reality as work at the Garth Lane site continues to gather pace.

In recent days, reinforcement steel for the foundations of the sports hall has been installed, and concrete has begun the curing process.

Horizon volunteer Kevin Childs said: “It is great to see things moving forward with the building, and it won’t be long until we see the building take shape!

“This will be fantastic for the young people of North East Lincolnshire and the surrounding area, and we are very much looking forward to having our permanent base.”

While the foundations are only just being laid to the building, Horizon’s Young People’s Development Group has already been functioning behind the scenes since 2019, when Kevin first began volunteering with them.

This is a group of local young people who meet weekly at Grimsby University Centre, and have enjoyed residentials, informative sessions, crafts and games, and an exchange trip to the United States in recent years.  They have also played a significant role in the development of the Youth Zone, attending pitches with potential funders, helping to come up with the branding for the Youth Zone, and regularly presenting at different events.

Kevin explained: “We began with about 50 young people in a room above Grimsby town’s McDonald’s, at one point, and probably about 12 regulars.  They came from Duke of Edinburgh Scheme, Centre4, West Marsh, all over the place.  Since then, we have had several cohorts pass through, with many reaching the maximum age for the group (19) and moving on.”

Today, Kevin and the rest of the Horizon team are pulling together young people from across the area and offering them the opportunity for growth, to be themselves, and to try something new. 

The new building will allow them all so much more, including the chance to try out new activities in one of the purpose-built spaces: an indoor climbing wall, four court sports hall, training kitchen, music room with a recording studio, fully equipped gym, dance, and drama studio, 3G kick pitch, arts and crafts room, enterprise, and employability suite.

Project manager at Onside, Michael Schierenbeck, commented on the build, saying:

“It’s been a long time getting to this point but we’re really happy with the progress that is being made on site. 

“Those living in Grimsby will soon be able to see the building take shape.  It will sit proudly on the River Freshney, reinvigorating the heritage buildings and providing young people in the area with a safe and inspiring place where they can explore their passions and receive dedicated support.”

Cllr Philip Jackson, North East Lincolnshire Council Leader and Portfolio Holder for economy, net zero, skills, and housing, said:

“We are delighted that the project has reached this point, and look forward to tracking its progress during 2024.

“Horizon will be a fantastic facility for the area’s young people, and it will be great to see the Young People’s Development Group finally be able to enjoy their permanent home next year.”

The Horizon Youth Zone is expected to open in 2025 and will provide thousands of young people with opportunities to engage in activities, and access support from skilled youth workers.  The centre will be open at weekends and during school holidays, and will cost just 50p per child, per session.

Horizon Youth Zone is being delivered by national charity OnSide, in partnership with North East Lincolnshire Council which is contributing towards the Youth Zone as part of the Greater Grimsby Town Deal. Other key supporters include Historic England, the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Ørsted, St. James’s Place Charitable Foundation, The Youth Investment Fund, and private donors.

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