Keep Calm and Socialise
  • about-us

    Carlisle Youth Zone

    is a fabulous place to be.
    I have made lots of new friends and there is always plenty to do.

    Olivia Adams
    Aged 9

  • about-us



Carlisle Youth Zone is a safe and fun environment where the potential of young people is developed and fulfilled.  


The History:

Youth Zones are modelled on the highly successful Bolton Lads and Girls Club, and are developed to meet local needs in other towns and cities across the Country. It is driven by private sector business leaders and as a charity is funded by Business partners, commissioned contracts, Trusts and Grants and donations.

Local businessman Brian Scowcroft had experienced Bolton Lads and Girls Club and was keen to get involved.  Brian linked with local business people David Allen, Andrew Tinkler and William Stobart and they set about getting Carlisle a Youth Zone – without these founders to push the development of Carlisle Youth Zone forward we may not be here today.

Carlisle Youth Zone benefited from a one off £5m grant to build a state-of-the-art facility for a wide range of sporting, artistic, cultural and general recreational activities and targeted services for young people aged between 8 and 21. Carlisle Youth Zone was the first of many Youth Zones initiated by the OnSide charity.

Starting with strong foundations from the Bolton model and a Board made up of local people, Carlisle Youth Zone was developed with local young people as a response to the clear, ongoing demand from young people, parents and communities for more and better places for young people to go.

What we are now:

We are open 6 night a week and during school holidays we run our successful Holiday Club. The Youth Zone provides a safe meeting place for young people, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, where they can, for a nominal entrance fee, participate in a wide range of positive activities. The Youth Zone also runs other targeted projects to improve the lives of those with additional needs, social and emotional needs and vulnerable young people in the area. We employ professional staff and recruit and train volunteers to work with them.

The Youth Zone is entirely independent of the Richard Rose Central Academy and other schools and colleges, but we strive to work in partnership with them and other youth service providers. The three-storey building, is an open, bright and attractive environment to enable young people to chill and socialise alongside opportunities to engage in sport and fitness with access to a quality gym, dance and performing arts spaces, pool tables, table tennis and a wide range of team sports. Personal development is encouraged by using the IT facilities and enterprise support. Creativity is also encouraged through art and craft and the sound studio. There are opportunities to develop both skills and knowledge contributing to health and well-being through cooking and access to supervised kitchen facilities, in addition to the café providing subsidised hot meals and tuck shop. Some sports facilities including the sports hall with climbing wall and outdoor all-weather pitches are shared with the Academy.


Carlisle has a high employment/low wage economy and this has had a major impact on many young people, leading over the past 25 years to increasingly poor levels of engagement in education for low-achieving pupils. The Youth Zone’s aim is to raise young people’s aspirations by involving them in positive activities that they enjoy and in which they can achieve.  Our aim is that Carlisle can be increasingly proud of its young people and they in turn increasingly proud to grow up in and be part of the Carlisle community.

Carlisle Youth Zone is now run by a dedicated and committed, private sector led board, chaired by Chris Holmes.

In recent years:

We work hard – having overcome many obstacles in our short history (including being completely devastated by the Carlisle floods of 2015) – and are proud of both what we have achieved and how we have done it as a team, together – having just been awarded “Best Place to Work” in 2017, and “Best Team” in 2016 in the Carlisle Living Awards.