Tokko youth Space: Creating a safe and vibrant community hub in the heart of Luton

Over £90 million in Youth Investment Fund grants announced recently will transform youth services in some of the country’s most underserved areas of England, creating new life-changing opportunities for thousands of young people.

Tokko opened the youth centre back in 2013, and since then we have co-designed a huge array of projects to support young people, giving them somewhere safe to go outside of home and school. But, we cannot reach every young person and need to expand and improve our service, so everyone has a chance to thrive. We also needs urgent work to modernise the space and make it accessible to all.

Now a Youth Investment Fund grant of over £1million will transform our youth offer, repurpose our space and make our building more sustainable and accessible. It will also pay for a new area as a green space to enable young people to connect with the outdoors in a safe way.

There will be something new for every young person at Tokko. One of the existing spaces will become a gym facility to support young people’s physical health and wellbeing. The gym will also be an attractive space that other local schools, youth projects and partners can use.

With the Youth Investment Fund grant secured, Tokko can quickly progress the transformation. Tokko plan to complete by October 2024. And young people will not miss out while the build is in progress. The plan is to work floor by floor, to ensure that day-to-day youth activities can continue.

Tokko youth centre awarded a £1.3 million Youth Investment Fund grant to transform its services for young people in Luton

Tokko youth centre has been awarded a transformational Youth Investment Fund grant to renovate and expand its offer to young people in Luton. It is very welcome news for young people supported by Tokko and means that Tokko will be able to support another 100 young people every week when the project is complete.

Tokko youth centre is based in the heart of Luton and helps young people to develop and find their space in the community. Tokko supports a diverse and vulnerable group of young people. The youth centre is in a deprived area where anti-social behaviour, knife crime and gang culture are high. Young people are at risk of exploitation, and it is hard for them to find a place a safety where they can thrive and explore their passions.

Tokko youth centre opened in 2013, and has a strong track record of delivering life-changing youth work, but its building is crying out for renovation to open up the space, and make it sustainable and accessible so every young person has a chance to thrive.

 

Now a Youth Investment Fund grant of over £1.3 million will transform their youth offer, increase its space, make their building more sustainable and accessible. It will also pay for a new area as a green space to enable young people to connect with the outdoors in a safe way.

The Youth Investment Fund is funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and is delivered by Social Investment Business in partnership with Key Fund, National Youth Agency, and Resonance. The Youth Investment Fund is part of the Government’s National Youth Guarantee to transform and level up opportunities for young people in England.

Welcoming the Youth Investment Fund grant, Aimee Djengiz, CEO, said ‘’The Youth Investment Fund will allow us to truly enhance our offer to young people experiencing disadvantage, through activities that improve health and wellbeing, explore identity and rights and encourage friendships and having fun’’.

 

The funding will help Tokko to re-repurpose the existing 5-floor building in Luton to better cater to the needs of vulnerable and disadvantaged young people. Opening its space up will also enable Tokko to increase its partnerships with statutory and voluntary services right across the community. Some of the new developments and features include:

  • Enhanced safety and security: The re-designed centre will be safe and secure, with the ground floor reception area having a fully functional security and entry system, ensuring the safety and welcome of young people and staff.
  • Digital Hub: Young people will benefit from access to digital tools, including laptops, big screens, play stations and all other kinds of gaming equipment.
  • New kitchen: A newly designed accessible modern kitchen will be a learning space for young people to hone their culinary skills. Making the kitchen and every space accessible is vital so that no young person is excluded.
  • A gym: An existing space will become a gym facility to support young people’s physical health and wellbeing. The gym will also be an attractive space that other local schools, youth projects and partners can use.
  • Roof top green space: There is a real lack of green spaces in the town, but Tokko’s roof terrace will soon become a dynamic green space with an inspiring view right across the city. It will be a place for quiet contemplation, art, and a space for creating greater awareness of the environment.

 

With their Youth Investment Fund grant secured, the team can quickly progress its transformation. Tokko plans to complete the building works by October 2024. It will make Tokko a safe and vibrant community hub in the heart of the town. And young people will not miss out while the build is in progress. The plan is to work floor by floor, to ensure that day-to-day youth activities can continue, and young people will still have somewhere safe and fun to go.

  • “They have helped me to meet new people and put myself out into the real world comfortably.”

    Mentoring client

  • “TOKKO did not just help me; they saved me from destroying myself.”

    OK2B Client

  • “My time at Tokko was informative, ideal and overall impeccable”

    Work Experience – Chiltern Academy

  • “We are in a better place now because of the kindness of you and your team shared to us!”

    Family supported during the pandemic

  • “Thank you for everything that you’ve done for me.”

    Inclusion Project Client

  • ‘I felt I was not being judged.’

    Young Person – OK2B Project

  • ‘I trust the workers, and I never felt judged.’

    Young Person – Young Parents Project

  • ‘I am in a much better place.’

    Counselling Client

  • ‘Thank you for helping me let go of things to feel better.’

    Counselling client

  • ‘If it wasn’t for TOKKO, I wouldn’t be where I am today.’

    Angel

  • ‘TOKKO saved my life.’

    Freedom Programme Client