Blackburn Youth Zone & Me

Hi everybody!

Welcome to a brand new week!

Yesterday I received some amazing news! I am now officially an ambassador for Blackburn Youth Zone! I can’t even begin to put into words about undertaking such a huge responsibility but I’m now determined more than ever to create a magical partnership with the Youth Zone and continue to give them the recognition they deserve. I’m also very eager to collate feedback from parents or carers and find out how Blackburn Youth Zone has totally transformed their child’s life just by attending a few weekly sessions.

Now, this is my chance to tell you all about my journey with Blackburn Youth Zone so far, how my weekly  sessions have totally transformed my  life and why I think the only way is up for the future of not just Blackburn Youth Zone but for a wide spectrum of Youth Zone’s all across the country.

What is Blackburn Youth Zone?

Blackburn Youth Zone is a facility situated in the heart of Blackburn Town Centre and offers nothing but jam-packed activities for all age ranges. As well as this the facilities are second to none including a sports hall, dance studio, and a 3G football pitch just to name a few but what really touches me is the outstanding 1;1 support given to those who are desperate for someone to speak to or they might not have had the best start in life. Some of the young people in Blackburn end up homeless through no fault of their own. Without the amazing work of the Youth Zone I think the future for many of our young people would’ve been very bleak indeed. Each session is just 5op and membership fee is £3 which is another thing they manage to take into excellent consideration as all family circumstances are completely different.  Image result for blackburn youth zone

All About Me

There may be a few Blackburn Youth Zone staff members  reading this who may recognise me from 1 or 2 sessions  but may not have a clue who I am. So as a special treat this is for you. Francesca Caroline Dean made her entrance into the world on the 28th September 1994 weighing a very tiny 2lbs 8oz. However I developed Cerebral Palsy, a condition which occurs in birth where not enough oxygen is supplied to the brain. From an early age my parents started to notice something wasn’t right when I started to miss important milestones.

Despite spending a short time in the additional educational needs sector, I was lucky enough to attend mainstream school which in my opinion was the best outcome because  in our society now things have improved yes but I still believe there aren’t enough opportunities devised for those who have additional needs.

Since these early years I left school with  10 GCSE’S and I’ve also landed several qualifications including a BTEC Level 2 in Travel and Tourism back in 2013 at Accrington and Rossendale College and a Level 3 Certificate in Business at Blackburn College which started in 2015 and ended last year.  The last few years I have solely dedicated my life to getting the best results possible  making sure I grab every opportunity as it comes my way and Blackburn Youth Zone have taught me just that to stop looking down but look up instead.

My Blackburn Youth Zone Journey

My very first Youth Zone visit was in June 2016. I was so impressed by all the activities on offer I didn’t want to leave. Rachel who works on reception gave me a full guided tour and I couldn’t believe my eyes as everyone’s energy felt so warm and I felt  at home straightaway.

The week after this I started my very first Diversity Club session and a lovely lady named Laura Walker introduced herself to me. My 1st activity was to take part in a blindfolded taste test. After this I was covered in squirty cream whilst the other members threw cheesy Wotsits at me! It was a very messy 1st session but I went home with the biggest smile on my face and that’s how it ends for me every week.


Diversity Club is a session which runs every Sunday from 10am-1pm with a fee of just 50p  This session is open to anyone but its main objective is to include every young person regardless of age, background  or  members with physical or additional needs. The list of activities are endless! We do everything to arts & crafts, Karaoke, Gym sessions and my favourite Dance.

Fahima who runs the dance sessions is so lovely and such a talented dancer too. I love taking  part in every activity available but the best part for me is to zoom around and see everyone have the time of their lives. Each member of staff is so helpful and I have created some amazing bonds with all of the Diversity Club team and the most amazing thing is we’re all one big family.

As I close this post I want to say a massive Thank You to all Blackburn Youth Zone participants and members of staff who have believed in me to pursue my new role. Blackburn Youth Zone is a truly incredible place to be and I would be lost without it. It really is an amazing feeling to be awarded the role of an ambassador and with every bone in my body I will make sure future members will want to come back for more.

If you’re a parent who worries about their safety when playing out on the streets I strongly urge you to try your local Youth Zone as you will see an instant transformation within your child or young person.

Francesca X





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