A renowned writer whose best-selling thriller has just been released as a movie has spoken of her admiration for Wigan’s Youth Zone.
Paula Hawkins, who is the brains behind The Girl On The Train, starring Emily Blunt, has pledged to support counterpart Youth Zones near to her home in London.
A visit to Wigan’s facility last year was the inspiration behind this decision, with Ms Hawkins stating she was “blown away” by the Parson’s Walk site.
She said: “I saw all the amazing facilities they’ve got up there and I spoke to some of the young people who use those facilities.
“I was just incredibly impressed not just by the range of activities on offer but the support that is being provided and how enthusiastic those kids were.
“I thought straight away it would be something I would be interested in helping with.”
I was just incredibly impressed not just by the range of activities on offer but the support that is being provided and how enthusiastic those kids werePaula Hawkins
Zimbabwe-born Ms Hawkins moved to London when she was 17 and has this week been unveiled as a founder patron of what will be London’s first Youth Zone, serving Barking and Dagenham.
It adds to a busy time for the writer as the film adaptation of The Girl On The Train has been released this week.
She has pledged to help generate the £1m per year running cost of the facility in similar fashion to the roles fulfilled by businessmen Martin and Bill Ainscough and former Latics chairman Dave Whelan.
OnSide, the charity behind the Youth Zone, has now established seven other Youth Zones in the North and Midlands.
Ms Hawkins said: “If you can, go and take a look at what OnSide is doing, visit one of the centres or get some literature on it because I think people will be amazed by just how great the facilities are and the scope of the charity’s ambition.”