A warming success – CYZ see over 13,000 visits to its Winter Warm Zone

For the second year running, Carlisle Youth Zone (CYZ) ran its ‘Winter Warm Zone’ initiative, a practical response to the ongoing Cost of Living challenges, which deepen for many families during the winter period. Removing all costs, Winter Warm Zone sees CYZ waive its already subsidised entrance fee (50p), annual membership (£5), and hot meal (£1) costs across all of its Youth Clubs between December 2023 and March 2024. As a result, an incredible 850 free memberships, 13,360 free club entries and 7,385 free meals have been provided to young people aged 7 – 18yrs (up to 25yrs with additional needs) in Carlisle, exceeding the reach achieved in the previous year.

CYZ Chief Executive, Caroline Taylor-Beswick said, “We know from listening to young people and families that CYZ is a trusted source of consistent and reliable support for many in the city. Children and young people choose to come to CYZ to have fun, learn and discover new experiences, as well as speak with our highly skilled Youth Workers who support them navigate the increasing day-to-day challenges they are facing. We knew that with the cost of living crisis continuing to take hold for many families, we needed to once again work with our supporters to enable us to go even further for our young people and families over the winter period. I’m hugely proud and thankful that we have been able to welcome so many young people through our doors, providing access to a nutritious meal and a warm and safe environment at CYZ which, for some young people in Carlisle, would otherwise have been beyond their reach”.

As a registered charity, CYZ relies on the support of an extensive network of businesses, individuals and grant making trusts and foundations to deliver its youth work offer 6 days and nights a week, 52 weeks of the year. The success of the Winter Warm Zone initiative is made possible by combining the core support of this dependable network, with the additional and enhanced support of others. This year, this enhanced support came from The National Lottery Community Fund (Community Organisations Cost of Living Fund), individual giving from community members via our Text To Give Campaign, and specific Winter Warm Zone fundraising activities from Lakesman Triathlons, Cumbria Business Support Network, Barrie Mark Personal Training, Saint & Co, Carlisle Brass and Express Plumbing Supplies.

Young people attending were in no doubt that the winter warm zone had been much-needed, with one member commenting that the Winter Warm Zone meant… “my family did not have to worry about providing a meal for me after school” with another acknowledging “[it] helped my family from worrying about me needing money to come”.

Whilst the Winter Warm Zone initiative has now concluded, the youth work offer from CYZ is springing forwards in to Spring! This includes 8 Youth Clubs a week, after-school gym and fitness sessions, a Project Night including Climbing, Baking, Girls Only Gym and a Nurture Through Nature programme, and its 1:1 Mentoring Service. All sessions have returned to just 50p entry, with financial support still available for those who may need it. More information can be found at  www.carlisleyouthzone.org/young-people/. To find out how you or your business can support CYZ, visit www.carlisleyouthzone.org/support-us/.