New Youth Safe Zone for young people in Northampton town centre

Published: Monday, 07 December 2020

Northampton Borough Council has been working in partnership with Free 2 Talk CIC and McDonald's to open a new youth safe zone in the town centre tailored support to young people.  

The youth safe zone will be operated from the McDonald's restaurant on the Drapery and will see the Free 2 Talk youth workers providing a comprehensive integrated range of support packages to meet the varying individual needs and circumstances of young people, their families and communities including their emotional wellbeing, self-development and self-awareness.

The sessions are available every Monday to Friday between 3.30pm to 5.30pm by appointment only. To make an appointment young people are encouraged to send a direct message to @Free2talkCIC on Instagram or Facebook. 

The support is being offered in a structured way meaning that these sessions will be either be for one-to-one support or small groups (no more than 15 people, including staff) with strict social distancing adhered to and deep cleaning taking place between sessions. 

Councillor Anna King, Cabinet member for community engagement and safety said: “Working closely with Free 2 Talk CIC, McDonald's and other stakeholders we are determined to meet the needs of young people as best we can at this difficult time, as well as support the wider community. 

“Loneliness can do serious and lasting harm to young people’s physical, mental health and wellbeing. This “Youth Safe Zone” offers a safe place to meet other people and share your concerns. The Free 2 Talk youth workers will provide a number of targeted provisions and additional support to those who need it.”

Perry Akhtar, Franchise Owner at McDonald's, added: “We at McDonald's understand the importance of getting young people involved in their town centres.

"Many of these young people are already using our restaurants regularly as customers and see our restaurant as a safe place to go to particularly when they are in trouble. As such we are excited to get involved in this local initiative which enables local youth workers to meet and support young people on a regular basis. Our private dining area is the perfect place to host these meetings being both familiar to the young people as well as convenient.”

Genna Whitlock, Director, Youth and Community Worker at Free 2 Talk CIC, said: “We are so excited to be working collaboratively with Northampton Borough Council and McDonald's s to create a “Youth Safe Zone” for young people and the wider community within the McDonalds restaurant on the Drapery.

"As part of this new approach, we will be providing bookable mentoring appointments for young people and small support groups. These will be provided to any young person facing challenges or seeking to make changes for themselves or their community.”