GROUND is set to be broken on a multi-million pound youth zone which will transform an area on the town centre’s outskirts, leaders behind the ‘one-of-a-kind’ scheme confirmed this week.
Costing £9m, the venue - which will include a four-court sports hall, a rooftop 3G outdoor kick-pitch, gym, boxing and martial arts room, a recording studio, dance studio, sensory room and mentoring kitchen - will be built off Schwabisch Gmund Way.
The Chronicle can reveal that work is set to begin in a few months, after Barnsley Council’s planning board gave the scheme the green light.
Barnsley’s youth zone - which will be run by OnSide - will be the first in Yorkshire and will be open to young people aged between eight and 19, and up to 25 for those with additional needs, seven days a week.
OnSide expect the facility to be open between 9am and 10pm on weekends and school holidays, and between 4pm and 10pm during term time.
An OnSide spokesperson told the Chronicle: “We are so excited that work will soon begin on Barnsley’s youth zone.
“We’re looking to be on site in the next few months and very soon we’ll be recruiting for our chief executive.
“Afterwards, we will be putting together a young people’s development group together.
“They will help make a number of key decisions from branding to interior design and staff interviews.
“In/ addition/ to the incredible facilities, trained youth workers/ and dedicated volunteers will be available seven days a week to offer/ guidance and/ support to/ help Barnsley’s young people to thrive./
“It will create up to 70 full and part-time jobs and up to 100 volunteering opportunities./ “
It will cost an estimated £9.2m to build, funded by a combination of public and private sector contributions.
The council will pay £4.5m towards construction costs and online fashion giant ASOS - based in Great Houghton - will contribute £1.2m to the project as its first corporate sponsor, with OnSide committing to generating the remaining construction costs.
The spokesperson added: “Youth zones are inspirational places that give young people support from trusted youth workers, and countless opportunities, from meeting new friends to finding their passions.
“A key design driver has been creating a distinctive landmark building with an active frontage onto the public facing elevation that acts as a gateway into the town centre.
“In order to try and achieve this, we have proposed a projecting first floor along Schwabisch Gmund Way that overhangs the ground floor.
“The large areas of glazing also allow views deep into the building, which provides an active frontage for pedestrians outside.
“So much hard work has gone into getting us to this point and I want to thank everybody who has helped make this dream a reality.”