Newtownabbey Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) members have backed the launch of a new initiative that is currently being piloted in the Valley Leisure Centre.
Zest Youth Zone is taking place between 7pm and 11pm on Saturday nights until August 25, for young people aged 11 to 18 years from across the borough.
The scheme offers a safe environment for young people to take part in a range of indoor and outdoor activities, or simply to chill out with friends and music - and all for just 50p a night.
The first night on July 21, saw approximately 50 young people attend, with great feedback. Those who were there said they had enjoyed the experience and would return this week and organisers are hopeful numbers will swell each week.
The Zest Youth Zone is a joint initiative between Newtownabbey PCSP and Newtownabbey Borough Council with support from other partners such as the North Eastern Education and Library Board Youth Service and Volunteer Now.
Chair of Newtownabbey PCSP Councillor Robert Hill, along with council colleagues, first suggested the idea of trying out this concept in this borough following a visit to a very successful similar project in Bolton.
Councillor Hill commented at the launch: “This pilot will give us the opportunity to test the ‘Youth Zone’ concept in Newtownabbey and although it is on a much smaller scale than the Bolton model, it will give young people in the borough a safe and stimulating environment in which to meet and socialise over the coming weeks.”