GENERATIONS of young people are about to have their lives transformed as a dynamic new initiative partnered by Russell Taylor Group gets under way.
The business has announced it has become a founder patron of The Hive Youth Zone in Birkenhead, a groundbreaking project to help put thousands of young people from all over Wirral on the right track to a brighter future.
The Hive, a £6m state-of-the art development in the heart of the town and built adjacent to Birkenhead fire station in Exmouth Street, has been created with a combination of public and private sector funding and will open its doors on Saturday, April 8.
Its aim is to bring a safe, inspiring and affordable environment to an area with almost 39,000 young people aged between 10 and 19, one which has the second highest concentration of unemployment in disadvantaged communities in England and where child poverty is significantly higher than the national average.
Ben Russell, managing director of Russell Taylor Group, said: “To become a founder patron of such an amazing facility here on our doorstep is one of the most exciting ventures we have undertaken.
“As a family firm, we place family values and community spirit at the heart of our operations and that's why we see ourselves playing our part in helping young people to reach goals they may never have imagined possible. It doesn't matter where you are born or brought up – all young people need the same advantages to ensure a brighter future for themselves and to make a significant contribution to our economy.
“Our partnership with The Hive offers endless opportunities to show local young people, many of whom are in need of extra support to reach their full potential, that they deserve the best.”
Stuart Barnes, chief executive of Wirral Youth Zone, added: “Working in collaboration with local organisations is a fundamental part of making The Hive a success in the community.
“We want to work together to make sure the offer for young people is the best it can be and the support and expertise of Russell Taylor Group can help us to improve this offer.”
Facilities at The Hive will be unlike any other in the area – there's a sports hall, skate park, climbing wall, boxing gym and fitness suite, arts room, recording studio, dance and drama studio plus a media room with IT equipment, film studio and radio booth and recreation area with pool, table tennis and games consoles.
The health and wellbeing of its young people will be at the heart of The Hive's operations with mentoring and support, inclusion programmes for those with additional needs and, in a dedicated area for hair and beauty, there will be a safe space to discuss issues such as image, self-esteem and positive role models.
Employability and enterprise are also high on the agenda. Targeted activities will aim to increase confidence and skills while projects will be put in place to access paid work, work placements and apprenticeships.
The Birkenhead centre will be open seven days a week, every day of the year, evenings and weekends as well as daytime during school holidays. Membership is £5 and admission is 50p per session.
The Hive Youth Zone is a locally-led charity supported by OnSide Youth Zones, a national charity committed to creating a UK-wide network of centres, and based on a youth zone model in Bolton which has been making an impact on young people's lives for over a century.
Seven youth zones have been created since 2008 and figures show that 89 per cent of members reported feeling more self-confident as a result of attending one of the centres; 80 per cent achieved better marks at school; 70 per cent exercised regularly each week; 80 per cent said they were thinking about life after school or further education; 86 per cent who completed an employability programme went on to employment, education or training, and police attributed to Wigan Youth Zone a 77 per cent reduction in anti-social behaviour within a two-mile radius of the centre.
Find out more about The Hive Youth Zone in Birkenhead at http://www.thehiveyouthzone.org