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July 19, 2022

Grant amount: £20,000

Blackburn Youth Zone

  • Grant programme: Active Lives
  • Region: North West

To support the pilot year of the 'Try, Train, Teach' sports and physical activity programme

About the organisation

Blackburn & Darwen Youth Zone is a valued and leading youth sector organisation operating across the borough of Blackburn with Darwen. Our state-of-the-art facilities enable all young people to come together, meet new people, and participate in developmental activities. We support young people with their skills and aspirations, health and well-being, and social integration, levelling up by providing them with the same choices, quality of life, opportunities, and aspirations. Currently, 1 in 2 young people in Blackburn with Darwen live in poverty, with their basic needs (heating, clothing, food etc.) not being met. With over 4,500 members, nearly a quarter of the borough’s youth aged 8-19 years access our services. We deliver 1,200 meaningful weekly engagements, with over 50% of the young people coming from the top 10% of the country’s poorest and most deprived communities.

Our Current Membership

Young people are at the heart of our organisation. Ensuring all young people have fun, meet different people, try new things, and challenge themselves to reach their full potential. We currently have 4,891 members, and our membership is rich in diversity, representing the young people in Blackburn with Darwen.

Key membership data (reported as of March 2024):

  • 46% of our membership comes from a BAME background.
  • 9% of Youth Zone members have a disability or additional need.
  • 74% of our membership comes from deprivation indices 1 and 2. This means we are supporting those with known vulnerabilities and the highest need.
  • 39% of Youth Zone members come from the top five areas within Blackburn, with Darwen having the highest reported antisocial behaviour (ASB).
  • 51% of our members receive free school meals.
  • Our members’ ages are: Mini Members (aged 5-7) – 4% / Junior Members (aged 8-12) – 51% / Youth Members (aged 13-18) – 66%.
  • Our gender split is Female- 35%/Male- 45%/Other-20%.

About the project

Try, Train, Team Sports & Physical Activity Programme (Triple T Sports)

Phase 1 (Try)

Increased Participation:

Engagement: Young people were encouraged to join sports activities through self-referrals and referrals from professionals, breaking down barriers to physical activity and fostering interest in sports.

Skill Development:

Positive Attitudes: The programme enhanced physical skills and developed positive attitudes towards staying active and enjoying sports.

Inclusive Sports Leadership:

Confidence Building: Coaches and youth workers obtained qualifications in inclusive sports leadership and SEND support, instilling confidence among participants by ensuring the programme catered to diverse needs.

Phase 2 (Try+):

Community Engagement:

Engagement: Connecting with local community sports clubs promoted community engagement, a sense of belonging, and a commitment to sports.

Skill Building:

Confidence Building: Skill-building sessions in community settings boosted participants’ confidence and taught vital life skills like teamwork, problem-solving, and communication.

Social and Cultural Awareness:

Positive Attitudes: The programme increased social and cultural awareness, promoting inclusive and open-minded attitudes within the group.

Sporting Competency:

Skill Development: Exposure to community sports clubs enhanced participants’ skills, boosting their confidence and motivation in sports alongside building connections with local sportspeople and clubs to carry on their newfound enthusiasm.


Phase 3 (Train):


Leadership Skills: Completing qualifications such as Junior Sports Leadership Awards and First Aid equipped young people with essential leadership skills.

CV Enhancement:

Confidence Building: Improving participants’ CVs with relevant qualifications boosted their confidence, self-esteem, and employability.

Preparation for Leadership:

Leadership Skills: Teamwork and mentorship were stressed in preparing participants for leadership roles, especially coaching peers at Blackburn Youth Zone.

Phase 4 (Teach):

Content Creation:

Leadership Skills: Participants created content for the Youth Zone’s platforms, showcasing leadership and creative skills in promoting healthy living and sports.

Employability Skills:

Confidence Building: Participants received support to address employment barriers and improve well-being, building confidence in managing anxiety and risk-taking behaviours.

Development Planning:

Leadership Skills: Assistance in development planning, job searching, and vocational training preparation emphasised leadership and strategic thinking.

Work Experience:

Leadership Skills: Organised work tasters, work experience, and mentoring provided real-world opportunities to apply leadership skills.

Entrepreneurship Support:

Leadership Skills: Enterprise start-up workshops empowered participants in innovation and self-directed leadership.

Impact of PHF’s support

Participant Data


  • Direct Beneficiaries: 26
  • 37% White, 63% BAME/Other
  • 42% Female, 47% Male, 11% Other/Prefer not to say
  • 100% of direct beneficiaries have ADHD or EBD


  • Overall attendance: 1,044
  • Overall engagements: 7,316
  • Try: 6,697, Train: 532, Team: 87
  • 48% White, 52%BAME/Other
  • 45% Male, 27% Female, 28% Other/Prefer not to say
  • 41% of overall beneficiaries have ADHD or EBD

How does your organisation exemplify PHF’s values?


  • Blackburn & Darwen Youth Zone is committed to delivering high-quality programmes that encourage personal and physical development among young people. We ensure that our activities, such as sports, arts, and educational workshops, are led by qualified professionals who inspire excellence. Our inclusive approach ensures that all participants, including those with special educational needs and disabilities, receive top-tier support and opportunities to excel.


  • Our organisation’s spirit of entrepreneurship provides young people with the skills and resources needed to innovate and lead. Through initiatives like enterprise start-up workshops and leadership training programmes, we empower young people to take charge of their futures. Participants are encouraged to develop entrepreneurial mindsets, enabling them to identify opportunities, take calculated risks, and create ventures.


  • Integrity is at the heart of everything we do at Blackburn & Darwen Youth Zone. We maintain transparent and ethical practices in our operations, ensuring that all programmes and activities are conducted honestly and fairly. Our commitment to integrity extends to building trust within the community and encourages a safe and supportive environment where young people feel valued and respected.


  • We are dedicated to creating sustainable impacts that benefit our community in the long term. By promoting healthy lifestyles, environmental awareness, and community engagement, we ensure that our programmes contribute to the ongoing well-being of Blackburn and Darwen. Additionally, we focus on developing leadership and life skills, equipping them to make positive, sustainable contributions to society.

Through our commitment to excellence, entrepreneurship, integrity, and sustainability, Blackburn & Darwen Youth Zone embodies the values of the PHF, driving meaningful and lasting change in the lives of young people and the broader community.