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Elevating Personal Growth & Careers

Introducing Lifeskills+, an 8-week programme at Wigan Youth Zone for young adults aged 16–25. Empower yourself for the future, gaining confidence, motivation, and
resilience. Explore life skills like mental health, confidence building, and teamwork, and boost your employability skillset with job-seeking, CV writing, and interview modules. Plus, dive into practical financial knowledge with Money Management Level 1 through the My Bank module. Take control of your future with Wigan Youth Zone!

It's time to take your first steps on the career ladder!

Wigan Youth Zone has a number of Employability Programmes. Currently, both are situated at Leigh Youth Hub.

Pathway 2 Employment (P2E), is our dedicated employability service designed to empower young people between the ages of 18 and 25. Through P2E, we offer personalised one-on-one appointments and engaging group sessions aimed at assisting you in your journey towards meaningful employment, education, and training opportunities.

We firmly believe that every young person deserves the chance to turn their aspirations and dreams into reality. 

You’ll have the privilege of a dedicated employment advisor by your side, working in tandem with you to help identify your unique needs and set you on the path to meaningful employment, whether it be through work placements, apprenticeships, training programs, or further education opportunities. Beyond these tangible benefits, Pathway 2 Employability also equips you with valuable life skills, boosts your confidence, and offers ample opportunities to expand your social network.

Pathway to Employment is funded by Wigan Council and DWP. 

This program is not just about building a stronger CV but also about enriching your life journey.

Here’s what P2E all about:

HAtching a plan 

Introducing Hatch, a collaborative programme in partnership with UK Youth and KFC, designed to equip young people ages 18-25 with essential employability skills through a series of seven engaging sessions:

The highlight of the Hatch programme is the Work Experience segment. Here, young people engage in paid work experience, dedicating 13 hours a week for four weeks. What’s even more exciting is that at the end of their placement, these young talents are guaranteed an interview opportunity with KFC, opening doors to potential future career paths. Hatch is not just about learning; it’s about hands-on experience and real opportunities for your future.

Transformative Impact of Hatch 2023

This year, Wigan Youth Zone accomplished six successful cohorts of the Hatch Programme within the Wigan and Leigh area. We facilitated eight external placements and completed 31 placements with KFC. Throughout the programme, we provided support to 47 young individuals, with 39 successfully finishing the programme. As a result of Hatch, more than 50% of these young people have transitioned to positive destinations, including:

Contact our employability team

Wigan location

Phone: 01942 612061

Leigh Location

Phone: 01942 612061

Transforming Lukes Life


Luke’s journey towards a brighter future began when he was referred to the Pathway to Employment (P2E) program by the Aspiring Future’s Team at Wigan Council. He had been receiving support from that team since April 2022. Luke’s educational path had been disrupted due to persistent bullying at a local College, leading to his departure from the college for his own safety. He had resorted to remote studying and was advised to stay away from certain areas to avoid encountering his bullies. This isolation and intimidation had severe consequences on Luke’s mental health, well-being, and self-confidence. Moreover, he had developed a habit of frequently using cannabis, further deteriorating his well-being and motivation. Luke had become increasingly isolated, losing all motivation to lead a positive life.

Luke’s initial feelings & Transformation

When Luke first arrived at the Youth Hub, his confidence and mental health were at an all-time low. His previous experiences with bullying had left him uncomfortable in group settings and hesitant to put himself out there. To address this, the P2E program initially worked with Luke one-on-one, creating a customised action plan to target his specific developmental needs.

Luke’s determination was evident as he began attending the Youth Hub daily, forging a positive relationship with the program staff, who saw his eagerness for personal growth. Feeling comfortable and supported at the Hub, he gradually started participating in group activities. As a result, Luke experienced a significant transformation in his confidence and comfort around others. He not only made friends but also built positive relationships within the group, further boosting his self-esteem.

Luke’s initial feelings & Transformation

When Luke first arrived at the Youth Hub, his confidence and mental health were at an all-time low. His previous experiences with bullying had left him uncomfortable in group settings and hesitant to put himself out there. To address this, the P2E program initially worked with Luke on a one-on-one basis, creating a customized action plan to target his specific developmental needs.

Luke’s determination was evident as he began attending the Youth Hub daily, forging a positive relationship with the program staff who saw his eagerness for personal growth. Feeling comfortable and supported at the Hub, he gradually started participating in group activities. As a result, Luke experienced a significant transformation in his confidence and comfort around others. He not only made friends but also built positive relationships within the group, further boosting his self-esteem.

Challenges Overcome:

Luke’s journey at the Youth Hub was marked by substantial improvements in his well-being. He broke free from the habit of smoking cannabis, leading to better sleep patterns, increased motivation, and improved mental health. By actively engaging in the program, he discovered his strengths and became confident in his abilities.

Moreover, Luke formed positive relationships with his peers from the P2E group sessions, extending his social interactions beyond the program. This increased socialisation contributed to better well-being, as he spent more time outside his home and engaged in meaningful communication with others.

What Luke Appreciates about P2E:

Luke expressed his gratitude for the supportive and understanding staff at the Youth Hub, highlighting how quickly he felt comfortable. He enjoyed the sessions, describing them as valuable opportunities for personal skill development and self-discovery. He emphasised that the Youth Hub provided a positive environment where he felt wanted and accepted.

Impact on Luke’s Life:

In Luke’s own words, attending the Youth Hub and participating in the P2E program had a profound impact on his life. He noted that the sight of the Wigan Youth Zone uniform made him feel at ease, allowing him to open up and be himself while trusting the staff. Luke’s transformation extended beyond the Youth Hub, as he made friends, found happiness, and secured full-time employment with Kara’s Plating—a job he thoroughly enjoys.

Luke expressed immense pride in his accomplishments and extended heartfelt thanks to the program’s staff, acknowledging their pivotal role in his journey toward personal growth and success. He firmly believes that he would not have achieved these milestones without their support and guidance. Luke’s story serves as a testament to the transformative power of programs like P2E in the lives of young individuals facing challenges on their path to self-improvement and fulfillment.

Henriques Journey


Henriques, a 20-year-old, embarked on his journey with the Pathway 2 Employability program in February 2023. This case study highlights Henriques’ struggles with unemployment, his aspirations for a better life for himself and his family, and the positive outcomes he achieved with the support of the program. 

Henriques had been grappling with unemployment since 2022. He found himself facing numerous challenges that hindered his ability to secure a job. Living in a local area with limited job opportunities and his lack of work experience exacerbated his job search frustrations. Additionally, Henriques faced the added pressure of his mother’s illness, which underscored the urgency of gaining employment to support his family.

Goals and Action Plan

Upon joining the Pathway to Employment program, Henriques, referred by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), began working closely with the program’s dedicated team. Together, they identified his short-term goal: to secure employment that was close to his home and provided a sustainable income.

Over the course of two months, Henriques received personalized, one-on-one support from the program. Key components of his action plan included:

  1. CV Enhancement: The program assisted Henriques in crafting a professional-looking CV that effectively showcased his skills and potential to employers.

  2. Cover Letter Writing: Henriques was guided in the art of crafting compelling cover letters, tailored to specific job applications.

  3. Job Application Support: The program provided guidance on effective job searching, including how to identify suitable vacancies and submit successful applications.

  4. Job Fair Attendance: Henriques participated in local job fairs, gaining valuable insights into available opportunities and networking with potential employers.

Success Achieved

After two months of dedicated effort and guidance from the Pathway to Employment program, Henriques achieved a significant milestone. He secured employment as a receptionist at a local company known as Laltex. Henriques’ commitment, coupled with the support he received, led to a fulfilling and sustainable job opportunity. To this day, he continues to work happily at Laltex.

Henriques’ Testimonials

Henriques expressed his gratitude for the Pathway to Employment program, acknowledging the positive changes it brought to his life:

  1. Initial Expectations: “I joined Pathway to Employment as I needed help getting a job, and I heard that the Pathway to Employment program was a good place to get help.”

  2. Increased Confidence: “I didn’t feel as confident before I started, but now I feel more confident, now that I know things have worked out.”

  3. Improved CV and Understanding: “I now have a professional-looking CV, and I understand what employers are looking for in an employee.”

  4. Life Transformation: “My life is different now as I have employment.”


Henriques’ journey with the Pathway to Employability program showcases the transformative power of targeted support and guidance in overcoming unemployment challenges. His story serves as an inspiring example of how determination, paired with the right resources, can lead to a brighter and more secure future for individuals and their families. The Pathway to Employability program continues to make a meaningful impact by helping individuals like Henriques gain employment and regain their confidence in their professional pursuits.



Raising Voices

Hatch Program’s Youth Advocates Shine a Spotlight on Men’s Mental Health

In a heartwarming display of community engagement, a group of young individuals participating in the Hatch program recently led a remarkable social action project at Pennington Flash.

Their personal goal was centred around raising awareness about men’s mental health, a topic often shrouded in silence. They took ownership of the initiative, designing their very own T-shirts and crafting informative leaflets, even creating their own QR code which held links to online resources for men.

During the day, they went out to distribute their leaflets, with the goal of handing out 50 leaflets. To everyone’s surprise, the project exceeded all expectations. Not only did they distribute more than 50 leaflets, but the response from the local community was overwhelmingly positive. Men in the area eagerly engaged with the young advocates, fostering meaningful conversations about men’s mental health.

As a testament to their commitment, one of the young participants has taken it upon themselves to further amplify the cause. In late October, they plan to embark on a challenging bike ride from Wigan to Blackpool. This endeavour is not just a physical feat but also a powerful statement of his dedication to raising awareness for men’s mental health.

All in all, the social action project at Pennington Flash, led by the Hatch program’s youth cohort, was a success. It showcased the potential of young individuals to effect positive change in their community. Through their creative initiatives and genuine passion, they not only exceeded their goals but also ignited important conversations about a critical issue—men’s mental health.

Transformative Impact of Hatch 2023 Program on Youth Employment and Empowerment in Wigan & Leigh

In 2023, Wigan Youth Zone celebrated the successful completion of six cohorts of the Hatch Programme within the Wigan and Leigh area. These cohorts embraced eight external placements and 31 placements at KFC, providing invaluable support to 47 young people, with 39 of them successfully finishing the programme.

Remarkably, Hatch has motivated over 50% of these young participants into positive destinations, manifesting in various achievements:

  • Four young people secured employment with KFC.
  • Eleven found external employment.
  • Nine enrolled in further education or training.


External placements played a pivotal role, supported by organisations like Attain (Digital Media and Marketing), Team YIV (Manual Labour), Wigan Youth Zone (Maintenance & Sports), Book Cycle (Customer Service), Leigh Parish Church (Community Engagement), Leigh Sports Village (Pennington Flash – Horticulture), and Digivision (ICT).

Connor Reveley’s journey is a testament to the programme’s impact. Struggling initially and feeling stuck in an unproductive job search loop, Connor’s mental well-being suffered. Fortunately, a Hatch program spot became available, offering him a chance. His passion for sports led him to a placement at Wigan Youth Zone’s Sports Department. Connor’s exceptional performance during the four-week placement led to a permanent role offer, demonstrating his remarkable growth fuelled by Hatch’s support.

The Hatch Programme has been a lifeline for many young people in the Wigan & Leigh area, especially those in dire need. The participants’ demographic breakdown reveals the programme’s inclusivity, with nearly half having additional needs or mental health diagnoses, over half never having worked before, and most hailing from the most deprived areas in the region.

Alicia’s story stands out—a tale of overcoming obstacles. Despite battling social anxiety and a lack of confidence, Hatch provided a platform for her growth. Her completion of group sessions and a successful placement at KFC transformed her self-doubt into aspirations.

The programme’s emphasis on Social Action fosters skill development and community engagement. One group focused on Men’s Mental Health, creating awareness campaigns and organising charity events like a bike ride, showcasing the impact of their initiative on both themselves and their community.

Hatch doesn’t just bolster employability skills; it creates a safe space for personal growth and mutual support among diverse young people facing various challenges. It breaks barriers, offering equal opportunities regardless of one’s background or circumstances.

In 2023, Hatch transformed lives and ignited hope, confidence, and a brighter future for many.

‘’ You have given me a platform and the confidence to try for my future and a personal thank you for the extra help overall and sticking with me.’’

 ‘’It has affected my wellbeing in a positive way, and has given me the motivation to work and get money in my pocket and feel happier’’  

‘’I am much more confident’’

‘’ When I started on hatch I was really closed off and my confidence was really low because I had just recently come out and I just wasn’t comfortable with myself yet but meeting everyone in my hatch group and feeling included with everyone despite my current situation really helped my confidence. The work placement at the KFC was super inclusive as well. I never once felt discriminated or left out because of who I was. Overall, I feel so much more confident with myself now and it’s given me a lot of courage to keep pushing on to be myself.’’

No one does Christmas like Wigan Youth Zone, always a magical time of year where hundreds of young people are welcomed to enjoy festive fun, Christmas Dinner and presents from Santa. However due to Covid-19, the coronavirus pandemic caused Wigan Youth Zone to cancel all of their vital Christmas events, which allows vulnerable families a Christmas to remember with the help from local community. 

The team fought creatively to ensure that nothing could stop a Wigan Youth Zone Christmas by bringing some Christmas Sparkle to over 300 family’s doors. Father Christmas and his elves delivered a Christmas decorated truck full of presents and food hampers to families who don’t have the opportunity to celebrate.  

Through the incredible support from the Wigan and Leigh community, 330 Wiganers received presents and a Christmas Dinner. Traditionally people across the Wigan Borough come together as one to donate food, presents and household products to give to the families who need it most.  

As well as boxing up a Christmas meal, receiving gifts off Santa, and a family hamper, Wigan Youth Zone also hosted a stay-at-home event for the whole family to enjoy. Wigan Youth Zone’s Big Night In was a festive celebration of all things Wigan Youth Zone, including entertainment from talented members, celebrity messages and a raffle!  

Over 3000 donations  

300 of food hampers  

100 CO-OP vouchers  

300 families helped  

330 young people who received presents  

300 Christmas dinners 

The Big Night In

1.6k viewers 

41 reactions 



85 live viewers  

And raised £10,000 

One family said: “This has been such a tough year, I thought we was going to have to cancel Christmas. I couldn’t thank those involved enough, I was in tears when I saw the kids see all of their presents.”  

Anthony Ashworth-Steen, Wigan Youth Zone’s Executive Director said: “I am blown away by the support we have received to help over three hundred people – once again the community of Wigan and Leigh has rallied together to support the young people and families most in need and I would like to thank everyone who supported for making this a reality. Through our collective efforts we have been able to support more people than ever before, demonstrating the need and the importance of the Mission Christmas campaign. As we look forward to 2021 we will continue to do everything we can to support the young people of Wigan and Leigh.  

With experience of working in informal education for over 15 years and a Masters in Educational Leadership, Anthony is always looking out for new ways to help support and empower young people in Wigan and Leigh. Since taking up his position in 2017, Anthony has been eager to build on past successes to further raise the profile of Wigan Youth Zone on a local, regional and national level (and has taken the organisation through a series of changes to help accomplish this.)


With over eleven years of experience and a degree in Events Management, Charlotte joined the team in 2019 and is passionate about sharing the amazing stories and memories that Wigan Youth Zone helps to create, as well as working as an inspiring mentor for young people.

Siky has attended and enjoyed youth clubs himself since the age of ten and has 15 years of experience as a youth worker. Joining us back in 2013, Siky’s mission is to help us ensure that we offer the best services for children and young people in Wigan.


As a qualified teacher with a specialism in music, Mike has worked with young people for the past ten years in a variety of settings, from young offenders institutes, to pupil referral units and behavioural schools. Originally working in the music department, Mike now heads up the Youth Zones’ mentoring programme, recruiting volunteers to match with and support our local young people.


Kate has been working with and for young people for over 15 years and has carried out various roles for us since 2013. She believes that the volunteers have an immeasurable impact on the Youth Zone and is passionate about the professional development of the team. Being a part of the community and fundraising events has given Kate some of her career highlights.


Former volunteer, Kim joined the team full-time in 2014 after completing a degree in Youth and Community Work, with years of involvement within her local church youth club behind her. Currently assisting with the coordination of enterprise and employability, Kim helps young people get on the right path by developing their skills in business and entrepreneurship. She said: “I do it because I really love it. I’m working in my dream job!”


With over 12 years experience in the corporate world, Lynsey joined us back in 2019, bringing a wealth of skills and knowledge with her. Lynsey loves connecting local businesses with the Youth Zone and as a proud Wiganer, is honoured to be raising funds, so that many other young people can go on to achieve their own dreams. Lynsey is a keen runner and is often seen out and about pounding the pavements to help raise the pennies!


Former volunteer at the Youth Zone, Jay has been working with young people for over 14 years and is responsible for planning, overseeing, and directing the operations of our lively recreational area, whilst also delivering a range of specialist training to other clubs across our network.


  • Robert brings over 15 years’ experience working in senior management roles within large charities and helps to put the paramount views of young people, parents and key stakeholders at the forefront of everything we do. Rob said: “The culture and belief in every young person is truly inspiring.”


As an artist herself and a long background of working creatively in the community, Catherine delivers a range of workshops and sessions at the Youth Zone, offering a calm and productive space for young people to create art and learn new skills. Catherine said: “I love my job at Wigan Youth Zone, it gives me a chance to empower young people and make them believe in themselves!”


Dave joined our team in 2016 through the Wigan Athletic Community Trust, having completed a degree in Community Football Coaching and Development. As a qualified sports coach and experience of working with Watford FC and Oxford United, Dave oversees an exciting range of indoor and outdoor facilities at the Youth Zone and manages a variety of action-packed activities and games for young people to enjoy.


With experience of working with young people for over five years now, Amy joins the team as our dedicated Pathway 2 Participation Coordinator, inspiring confidence and encouraging engagement with the Youth Zone. Amy works to support the mental and physical wellbeing within the local youth community, and said: “My passion is having a positive impact on young people and helping them to have a positive outlook on life.”


Over the past five years, Liz has worked with Onside to develop and deliver a bespoke leadership and management programme that supports managers within Youth Zones across the UK, helping them to achieve their full potential. Liz enjoys contributing to the safe and effective running of the Zone and credits the more unusual requests she gets to always putting a smile on her face, such as singing along in the Christmas video!


With a passion for empowering youth voice and creating safe spaces for young people to express themselves, Hannah is responsible for keeping the recreational area a fun and exciting place for young people to participate in all kinds of weird and wonderful activities!


Avid local sports fan, weekend triathlete and Chartered Accountant Paul lives with his young family in Shevington, and as a born and bred Wiganer, is keen to lend his professional skills and time to helping others in his community. Paul said: The biggest value is seeing the continued great work of the Youth Zone for the young people of Wigan and Leigh and the resulting growth and development of our members. It gives me great pride to be able to tell people I am involved with the Youth Zone.” 


As a mum and family lawyer, Charlotte is keen to go the extra mile with making positive changes in her community, ensuring that young people living locally have access to crucial provisions and resources at the Youth Zone. Charlotte said: “Hearing from our members helps bring home what we do as a board and what we are doing on a day-to-day basis for children living locally. My involvement goes a little way to help give something back.”


Susan’s career as a Regeneration Professional has spanned over 35 years, working around the country on a diverse range of projects. She is passionate about ensuring that young people are listened to, helping to provide them with the skills, opportunity and support to both recognise and exceed their potential. Susan said: “The partnerships that we have formed and strengthened over the last couple of years provides so much hope for the future of our borough and our young people.”

Wigan enthusiast Gary has enjoyed a long career working with some of the biggest brands in the UK and has been with the Youth Zone right from its roots, establishing the Charity as a founding patron. Gary said: “Right from the outset, I believed in what Wigan Youth Zone was seeking to deliver and the potential positive impact it could have on local young people, something close to my heart.”

After serving in the Royal Air Force and working in joinery and construction, Graham joined the children’s services in Wigan Council, where he has worked for the past 26 years. As a qualified social worker, he is Service Lead for the targeted Youth Support and Start Well services and joins us as the council’s dedicated representative. Graham said: “I value the opportunity to support and shape a range of opportunities for young people, helping them to develop important life skills and become positive members of society.”


Richard, owner of Network Space, a commercial property business in the north of England,  joined our chair in 2019, having been a patron for some years before. His charitable work is focussed on trying to help young people realise their full potential. A keen advocate of continuous improvement, Richard ensures that the youth zone is always looking to enhance the services it provides by listening to feedback and suggestions from our members.

As the owner and Chief Operating Officer of a large law firm, with experience of working as a commercial lawyer for 20 years prior, Jonathan advises the Youth Zone using his expert legal background and has been working with the charity since the beginning of its development. Jonathan said: “After becoming a member of the board, my middle son was diagnosed as having Autism Spectrum Condition, so the importance of supporting young people who face challenges in life is something that I have experienced first-hand. It is a privilege to be part of such a fantastic project.”


As a qualified Youth Worker and the Network Director of OnSide Youth Zones, Helen is passionate about serving as a Trustee and values the opportunity to stay connected with the Youth Zone offer, which she represents nationally. Helen said: “I love the creativity and can-do attitude of the team at Wigan Youth Zone- I know how dedicated they are to giving young people great opportunities and the support to succeed.”


Jackie Salt brings a wealth of digital marketing skills as Commercial Director of Wigan-based agency, ATTAIN. Since joining the board in April 2019, Jackie has advised on fundraising, events and marketing, as well as becoming heavily involved in Wigan Youth Zone’s Young Enterprise programme.

Gill has worked in local government for over 30 years, managing a range of front-line services as a Corporate Director and addressing important issues within her community. Now running her own business, Gill provides leadership and management training, qualifications and business coaching. She said: “I value being part of an organisation that helps to make a difference to so many young peoples’ lives, to enable them to develop new skills, gain confidence and to have the amazing opportunities the Youth Zone provides.”

Born and bred in Wigan, Nigel joined the board in 2018, having originally supported Wigan Youth Zone as a patron. Nigel brings a wealth of HR expertise, having run his own consultancy for 12 years. Nigel said: “I remember feeling how overwhelmed I was when I visited the site for the first time and seeing all the work they do. Who wouldn’t want to get involved and help those who change the lives of many young people!”

Daniela joined our team for a short fix term, but loved it so much and has stayed ever since! Daniela brings over ten years of experience in data and systems coordination, whilst also overseeing various HR tasks. She said: “I love how we make a real difference and I try to help when possible, running to raise funding and even taking a tandem skydive!”


Mike has spent the last seven years on the streets and parks of Wigan. Before that, he was a lot warmer, especially during his eight years in Slovakia! With successes as head teacher, sales manager and computer games designer, working all over the UK and beyond, Mike eventually returned to his roots to eat pies, watch rugby and help young people in the borough by pounding the pavement, running transport to the Youth Zone and delivering local youth groups.


During the height of Lockdown in 2020, X-Factor winner Sam Bailey gave free voice coaching sessions to two young Wigan Youth Zone members supported by Little Dreams Foundation.

Little Dreams Foundation, was set up in the year 2000 by husband and wife stars Phil and Orianne Collins as an international initiative to support young talent in music, arts and sports. 

 Sam, a huge Phil Collins fan, donated her time during the lockdown to conduct online training sessions to teach talented young singers Emily Pearce, 17, and Georgia Linde, 15, performance techniques including body and face movements as part of the programme. 

 Sam Bailey said; “I am loving working with Emily and Georgia from Wigan Youth Zone, they are two very talented young ladies with great potential and it’s great to be able to share some wisdom with them. Phil has been an inspiration for my whole family my entire life, so to be able to pay it forward in such a great way is fantastic!”  

Since the Youth Zones involved with the Little Dreams Foundation, the teens have had extraordinary opportunities such as flying out to Miami and performing with Phil Collins himself and other Little Dreamers. They have been supported by the foundation through Wigan Youth Zone for two years now and have developed massively both personally and musically. 

Georgia said: “I have had an amazing experience within the past two years being with the Little Dreamers. I never thought I would be able to experience such great opportunities, the favourite being singing with Phil Collins in Miami. I am thoroughly enjoying working on my new material and it has been amazing to work with Sam who is really helping me with my performance.” 

Nikki Varley, Deputy Head of Youth Work at Wigan Youth Zone said: “Our tagline at the centre is ‘Somewhere to go, Something to do, Someone to talk to’ and this messaging is more important than ever before with the current crisis at hand.  

Emily said: It feels amazing to get training off a celebrity who so many people know, we are fans of Sam, and she has years of experience in the industry that she can share with us. It’s been very empowering for me. The zoom sessions are something to look forward to and I’ve already learned a lot,” 

Ian encourages creativity to run wild at the Zone and has worked with bands and instruments for over 20 years. With experience of working in youth centres for over a decade, Ian ensures that there is something for every young person to try out, from guitar and drum lessons, singing and song-writing, DJ-ing skills and much more!


Wigan Youth Zone supported vulnerable young people and families during the October Half Term.

Wigan Youth Zone reacted quickly to the news that children will be without food support during the 2020 October half term and asked local families who needed support to get in touch. Wigan Youth Zone distributed over 120 food parcels and 50 food vouchers ensuring that Wigan children in need were able to get a meal during half-term. 

Since April 2020, Wigan YZ have been supporting local young people and their families with packages of support which included art and craft deliveries, one-to-one calls and digital support using Zoom and social media to engage and entertain those isolated at home. However, in response to the government’s position on free school meals the Youth Zone has been providing free holiday club and free school meal as part of the HAF provision.  

Youth Worker Andy Nicholls said:
“I was fortunate enough to deliver some of these to some of our families that I work with. The gratitude, the appreciation and smiles on the children’s and parent’s faces was something else. I am really taken aback as to how it impacted me. You just never know a families individual situation as much as you’d like to think you do. It was such a humbling experience.” 

One family said: 
“Oh wow. I can’t thank you enough. I’m sat here in tears. I’ve never asked for help in my life and I promise to return donations once we are back on our feet” 

Provided Free Entry for those on Free School Meals 

Free meals 

It does not take much imagination to recognise the incredible difference that Wigan Youth Zone has made during the pandemic to the quality of life of the local community. It is, however, hard to appreciate just how traumatic the last 12 months have been for many, and in turn, just how invaluable is the provision that Wigan Youth Zone provides. 

Our admiration for those selfless people who are providing the support is surely beyond words: it is simply priceless! 

We are so proud to have been able to add even further to our offer for young people this year, from a dedicated well-being team providing 1-1 holistic support for young people, to our inclusion team ensuring we are removing barriers to access the youth zone for young people with additional support needs and ensuring a level playing field for young people, and our dedicated group in partnership with Wigan Council for looked after children. 

This report provides a brief, but important glimpse of how vital Wigan Youth Zone is to the local community, and I share your admiration of our staff, our members, our wonderful volunteers and of course our vital supporters. Thank you for supporting us and allowing us to change lives in such a positive way. 


AJ has been working with young people for over 6 years, with a particular focus on inclusivity and helping marginalised young people feel more accepted in their community. They like to ensure that young people feel confident to take part in activities at the Youth Zone by taking part with them and accepting everyone. They’ll be easy to spot each session, with a range of funky earrings appropriate for the season and any holidays!


Karen ensures that everyone has access to a healthy meal at our café and has a wealth of experience in catering, previously working as a cook for 24 years before joining us. Having also led her local church youth group, Karen supports our mission to make the Zone a positive and supportive environment for any young person to feel welcomed into.


Previous office and admin volunteer at the Youth Zone, Steph formally joined our team back in 2014 and now looks after our day-to-day bookkeeping, taking on the important role of looking after payroll and accounts.


Charlotte joined the team on a part-time basis back in 2019 alongside studying for her Psychology and Criminology degree. During the past 2-and-a-half years, Charlotte has worked as a Receptionist and Girls’ Room Youth Worker, and since graduating from university has progressed into the full-time roles of Head of Reception and Well-Being Youth Worker here at Wigan Youth Zone. She is the first of an abundance of smiling faces you will see and is extremely passionate about encouraging young people to be the best versions of themselves!  


Chris has been working in the outdoors since 2005 and leads a variety of action-packed activities for young people to enjoy, managing our specialist equipment and facilities, whilst also overseeing our DofE programme. Chris is a trained mountain leader, rock-climbing instructor, paddle sports coach and first aider, and is always looking forward to the next exciting trip out!


CJ oversees our range of amazing facilities that we offer to local young people and is responsible for managing the health and safety here at the Zone, keeping everyone safe and sound! CJ can also often be found with a brew and biscuits with the cleaning team! 


Sharon enjoys arranging a wide range of fundraising events for Wigan Youth Zone and brings 15 years of corporate experience to the table. Sharon is always on the lookout for new partnerships, helping us to maintain vital relationships with many local businesses across Wigan and Leigh.


We first met Andy in the summer of 2013, where he was selling ice creams for us at an open day! A keen fundraiser, Andy has pedalled around the country for us and works closely day-to-day with youth participation, listening and closely involving our members in everything we do, as well as engaging with local schools and community projects.


Ben is a really passionate Youth & Community Worker and has always loved being involved in Youth Clubs, Youth Projects and anything out of schoolthe  time. Ben studied Youth and Community Work at University of Cumbria to study Youth and has worked across the Onside Network at Balckburn, Warrington and the best of all Wigan! “This team is so welcoming and supportive I can’t wait to welcome you to our amazing Senior Youth Club!”


The first of many smiling faces you will see, Chris has been with us since we first opened, starting part-time on the reception desk and progressing his way through to management! A key member of our busy team, Chris said: The best part of my job is seeing our young people coming through the doors to enjoy the activities that we have on offer seven days a week.”


Hayley is passionate about supporting young people and oversees various safeguarding responsibilities at the Zone, as well as working with our counselling partnership. She enjoys getting out and about on our community outreach programme and is a huge supporter of female empowerment. Everyone at the club knows Hayley for her love for animals, dance…and cheese!


Jack has worked with Wigan Community Trust since 2015 as a school sports coach, but is based right here at the Zone as our dedicated football officer. Jack relishes the opportunity to make a difference to the lives of young people through the power of sport and is keen to get more people passionate about football.


Nikki is passionate about providing young people with great experiences and opportunities by overseeing a variety of inspiring youth work. With qualifications in Media and Communications, Mental Health First Aid and British Sign Language, Nikki is always looking to expand her skills and try something new.


After training at college and stage School, Joe performed around Spain, eventually returning to his roots to teach dance for us, with previous experience of coaching behind him. Joe said: “I received offers to go back to Spain and go around the world on a cruise ship, but I saw an opportunity to develop here. I want the next generation of Wigan to be passionate about dance!


With more than 15 years of experience in HR, Lisa joined us back in 2013. She is passionate about ensuring that the health and wellbeing of the whole team is at the heart of our work and is committed to our mission of providing young people with the brightest futures possible- even taking on a tandem skydive, despite her fear of heights, to raise funds for us!



As the Director of a Licensed Insolvency Practice, Lisa has spent the last 25 years providing critical advice and support to those who find themselves in financial difficulty. Her passion for helping others doesn’t stop there, as she is keen to use her time and skills to make a difference to the lives of young people in Wigan & Leigh. Lisa said: “At the heart of all the decisions we make, we should always keep the best interests and focus on the young people we are trying to support.”