Page 22 - ONSIDE Issue 29

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Construction work has begun in Wigan
on a youth centre that is being labelled
one of the best of its kind in Europe.
The £6.5m project at Mesnes Field in
Wigan town centre will provide high
quality spor ts, ar ts and recreational
facilities for young people aged 8-19 years.
The Wigan Youth Zone, which will cater
for up to 3,000 youngsters a week, is
due to open next spring. It will include
outdoor football pitches and a wide range
of indoor leisure and cultural facilities,
from a recording studio, to a gym.
The new centre has been suppor ted by
Latics owner Dave Whelan, who believes
the building will help
“bring together all
the young people inWigan and allow
them to make a great start in life.”
The Premier League Community Facility
Fund is also a key suppor ter of the
project, as Emma Joussemet, Premier
League Senior Community Development
Executive explains.
“We have invested £350,000 in this
fantastic development as part of
our ongoing commitment to
grassroots football.”
“We put £18m into a facility fund
administrated by the Foundation; it’s
really to support clubs to empower
them to develop their work in
the communities.”
Bill Ainscough, the Chairman of Wigan
Youth Zone, said:
“The current social
problems that we are seeing across
the country highlight the need for
facilities that provide young people with
somewhere to go, something to do, and
someone to talk to.
“With this development,Wigan is
leading the way by investing heavily in
its young people.”
The Wigan Youth Zone will be open
seven days a week, 52 weeks a year and
will provide health and employment
services to suppor t young people.
The centre goes beyond providing
activities for young people, but also job
oppor tunities in the management and
delivery of those services.
Wigan Athletic footballers were so
inspired by the project that they donated
£1m from their Premier League bonus
towards the build.Team captain Gary
Caldwell said:
“The scheme is fantastic
and we’re delighted to contribute.”
The Wigan Athletic Chairman was
delighted by the players’ generosity. Dave
Whelan added:
“As far as I’m aware, no
other team has donated to charity in
the same way.The local council’s Chief
Executive could not believe it.”
(PLCFF) is a new fund that will provide £18m
of investment into building better local spor ts
facilities over three years.
With the money provided by the Premier League
and the scheme delivered by the Foundation, it
is the perfect par tnership to bring professional
football clubs closer to their communities.
Grants have already been awarded to the clubs’
community trusts; these will go towards improving
spor ts facilities to be used by local people as well
as venues to deliver the football clubs’ community
outreach work.
Facility to provide
Wigan’s youth with
‘a great start in life’
| The Football Foundation Magazine | Issue 29