The world's biggest spade helped mark the start of construction work on the city's new youth facility, Wolverhampton Youth Zone, as it takes a significant step closer to opening.

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Called The Way, the Youth Zone is being built by A & H Construction & Developments PLC and promises an exciting range of activities for young people 8 to 19 year olds - or 25 for those with a disability - ranging from sport, fitness and dance to music, arts and media and self improvement.

Councillor Val Gibson, Wolverhampton City Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: "This is a hugely important project which will create a fantastic facility for our young people.

"We've seen how successful the Youth Zone concept has been in other parts of the country, and it's great news that people in Wolverhampton will soon be able to enjoy these same benefits themselves.

"The development of the Youth Zone also forms a key part of our wider ambitions to regenerate Wolverhampton, increase prosperity and create opportunities for all."

Steve Morgan, Chairman of Wolverhampton Youth Zone, said: "There is a real need in Wolverhampton, and across the country, for young people to have somewhere to go, something to do, and someone to talk to in their leisure time. The Youth Zone is helping to lead the way forward by investing heavily in our city's young people.

"Everybody associated with the Youth Zone is thrilled to get the building work started and we're all incredibly excited about what this fantastic facility will mean for the future of Wolverhampton."

Due to open in January 2016, the £5.5million facility has already received tremendous support. Wolverhampton City Council is investing more than £3million in The Way - both towards its development and running costs - and capital investment has been secured from charitable trusts such as The Morgan Foundation, The Queen's Trust, St James's Place Foundation, Garfield Weston and Sport England.

There is still work to do on raising money for the charity, as the Youth Zone needs to secure £500,000 of the facility's annual revenue costs from the local business community. It's already received early generous support from a small number of local businesses towards some of the running costs including Redrow, William Gough and Sons Limited, Jez and Babette Moxey, KGJ Insurance Group Ltd, FBC Manby Bowdler and Marstons PLC, and now the Youth Zone is appealing to other local businesses to become part of this unique project that will help shape the future of the city's young people.

Wolverhampton Youth Zone is an independent charity, established by The Morgan Foundation, the charity OnSide Youth Zones and Wolverhampton City Council.

Watch our short film from the ground-breaking ceremony:

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To find out more please visit Type=links;Linkid=4743;Title=The Way;Target=_blank;.

  • released: Thursday 23 October, 2014