Blackburn Rovers – Blackburn Youth Zone

Project details

Blackburn Rovers
Social Cohesion

Blackburn Rovers – Blackburn Youth Zone

Blackburn Rovers Community Trust has helped to give the town’s professional football club a significant presence at the heart of the place that it represents having become the providers of all the sports provision at Blackburn Youth Zone.

Based in the town centre, directly adjacent to Blackburn railway station, this popular facility for youngsters up to the age of 19 is a fantastic concept but had been in need of cost-effective specialist sports delivery, which the Community Trust has been able to provide with aplomb.

In the first four months of the partnership alone, the centre saw a 25% rise in membership levels and at present, it is believed that around 80% of all participants attending the venue are doing so in order to access the wide range of sports activities on offer at ‘BYZ’, with staple favourites like football and futsal complimented by the likes of basketball, cricket, dodgeball or specialist disability sports.

Our partnership with high street chain GAME helped to secure the opening of ‘The GAME Room’ at the youth zone, offering an area with games consoles that mirrors the successful equivalent area that we opened at our stadium, subsequently rolled out to clubs across the whole of the UK in multiple sports, once the retailer had seen the value to their brand of the Ewood Park pilot.

BYZ is part of the nationwide network of youth facilities funded by Onside for the benefit of youngsters who are often in areas where quality recreational facilities are at a premium, but we have become the first football club charity to have been awarded one of their exclusive contracts for sports delivery, helping to enthuse the next generation by using quality role models on site, including male and female staff with experience of both professional and semi-professional football, who have been seen as inspirations to the youngsters.

Thanks to this approach, we have improved the quality of coaching and enhanced the range specialist girls and disability sessions, making it a truly inclusive (and sustainable) local youth offering. In achieving our goals, we have successfully established a ‘Youth Voice’ at the venue – a group that meets regularly and has helped to empower young people using the facility to shape the offering that we provide for them with constructive feedback and ideas based on their needs or aspirations.

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