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A safe and vibrant community hub in the heart of Luton

A Youth Investment Fund grant of over £1.3 million will transform Tokko’s youth space.

Tokko youth centre aims to engage, encourage, and empower Luton’s young people to aspire, be happy and healthy. The youth centre, based in the heart of Luton, 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 opened its youth centre back in 2013, and since then they have co-designed a huge array of projects to support young people, giving them somewhere safe to go outside of home and school. But, they cannot reach every young person and need to expand and improve their service, so everyone has a chance to thrive. It also needs urgent work to modernise the space and make it accessible to all.

Creating a sustainable and accessible youth space

Now a Youth Investment Fund grant of over £1.3 million will transform their youth offer, increase its space, make their building more sustainable, 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. Once complete, Tokko will be able to support an additional 100 young people every week.

A vibrant community hub

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. It will make Tokko a safe and vibrant community hub in the heart of the town.

A safe and welcoming place

Young people have been at the centre of the new plans. They said the most of important things are having a safe place to go, and a trusted adult to talk to. 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. Of course, many young people also wanted access to digital tools, so a new space will be created with laptops, big screens, play stations and all other kinds of gaming equipment.

Young people will be able to learn new skills too, and gain qualifications in Food Hygiene. 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. An underused training room will be transformed into a child-friendly space for work with young parents and their children under five years.

There will be something new for everyone 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.

An inspiring 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. Young people will be able to grow produce, and then transform it into delicious meals in the new kitchen.

With their Youth Investment Fund grant secured, the team can quickly progress their transformation. Tokko plans to complete its building works 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, and young people will still have somewhere safe and fun to go.


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