The new Forest Road Youth Centre will be at the centre of this network and will offer activities such as sport, music, art, fashion, and photography. The new building, which has been designed in consultation with young people who live locally, will include main hall, an IT suite, a group room for smaller group activities, a ‘chill-out' space, interview rooms for one-on-one sessions and external break-out spaces. Fifteen staff from Hackney Youth Services will also be based in the building. In addition, the centre will provide a base for the Youth Parliament and Youth Volunteering programmes. The new building will replace an existing youth club on the site, which is currently run from a single-storey portacabin-type facility.
The centre forms part of a £5m investment in youth service in Hackney. Beyond the investment at Forest Road, funds will also be allocated to four other locations. These include Hoxton Hall in Hoxton Street which will be refurbished. The others are centres in King’s Park and Milton Gardens, and a new centre in Woodbury Down.
The investment is funded by MyPlace, a youth-focused grant scheme set up by the previous Labour Government. The scheme was set up in 2009 to improve youth facilities across the UK and Hackney was awarded funding in March of that year. The scheme has now been discontinued.