Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Wigan Youth Zone - my thoughts.

If you follow me on Twitter or have seen some tweets you will see that I have had a conversation with WYZ (Wigan Youth Zone). In the main they where asking why I didn't go to the opening and if I supported it or not.


I was a Councillor for that area when the idea first came out. There was a massive outcry against losing Mesnes Playing Fields which where the old Grammar School playing ground. Also important is the fact that this field was left to the People of Wigan to play including cricket. So people quite rightly said that it wasn't Wigan Council's to give away and it should be left as it is because that was why it was left to people of Wigan. Wigan Council's argument was the fact that people could still play on the site just inside the building.


The idea for the club came from Martin Ainscough and he asked Bill Ainscough and Dave Whelan to get involved. I like the idea of the club a lot and I think it has a great merit to it. I am not sure why it had to be so big, I believe it is the biggest one in Europe, but don't quote me on that  Because of the size this means more funding will be need to keep it going.


So the next point is funding. The three sponsors very kindly offered to put £1 million into the project to build the club. They said they would not fund the running of the club there after.

The original business plan said that it would need £400 000 from Wigan Council each year to break even. At that time this figure was based on 3000 visits per week each costing £1 a visit. I said this was ridiculous to think that it would get 3000 visits each week as I saw no evidence for this.

Now the admin fee is 50p and some don't pay. That would mean to me that it either needs 6000 visits per week to still only cost the Council  £400 000 per year or the Council will have to pay £800 000 each year for the running cost. Nearly a million pounds on a club in these times is not good value for money!

So the Council had to make cuts to other youth services in the whole of the Borough to fund the £400 000 if that figure rises then there will have to be more cuts made to fund it.

Current situation

So the Club is here and when you look at it and hear about it and it does sound impressive but that doesn't take away the situation that Wiganers have lost a field that was given to them and this club could cost nearly £1 million pounds to the tax payers potentially. The club have invited me to look at the club and see what I think and I will take this invitation up and see what I think.


  1. Nearly a million. £800k. Big numbers indeed! However, if the club needs £400k to breakeven then the total cost must be £400k plus the income from the admissions of £156k p/a.
    So if nobody ever paid to get in, the cost would be £556k. Some way short of "nearly a million".
    The area was a waste with Mesnes Park and WCC just down the road. At least it has been put to use - time will tell if that's good use.

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  2. Thanks for the comment Steve. You presume that the only two income streams are admin fees and the Council. My understanding is that there are more incomes streams and whilst I can see you logic for your reasoning it is only correct if there were two income streams.

    The area previously was not a complete waste but I do agree that it could have had more improve use.

    I think we completely agree on the final point that only time will tell if the figures if it is well used or not.

    Thanks again for your thoughts and comment.

  3. Gareth, please read my comment posted on the Wigan Today website - 'WYZ is pride of our town - Whelan'.

    Read it carefully. After you've read it carefully, do some follow-up research. That will help you to understand the background behind the Wigan Youth Club /( Zone?).



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