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Soapbox: Islington young people to get head-start with cutting-edge workshops at brand new youth centre

Soapbox youth centre opens this week, promising to be one of the best in London.

Soapbox youth centre opens this week, promising to be one of the best in London.

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Islington’s newest youth centre opens its doors this week, promising to be among the very best in London – giving young people the chance to harness their creativity and get hands-on with cutting-edge tech.

Soapbox, in Old Street, has been designed with and for young people from the ground up.

Run by local charity the Dragon Hall Trust, Soapbox provides a welcoming, fun and interesting environment, featuring a radio studio and music studio alongside a range of versatile spaces and facilities that have already hosted 3D printing workshops and music production sessions with the London Symphony Orchestra.

The broad range of activities offered allow young people to invest in their future by developing their social and professional skills, getting them a step ahead in digital, creative and other careers.

Dozens of young people demonstrated just some of the activities on offer at Soapbox’s official launch last Thursday, including the radio and music studios, a “virtual reality cave” and 3D printers.

James Dellow, digital amplifier at Dragon Hall, said: “Soapbox will complement the existing high-quality youth work already in Islington, adding new dimensions to digital media creative opportunities and emerging technologies.

“We are extremely excited to present this work to local young people over the coming years.”

Tega Agbede, Deputy Young Mayor of Islington, who was also at the launch, said: “This is a beautiful, well-designed youth centre and I think it gives a good vibe and life to the community, and a foothold into the working world.

“It is bringing technology into the local area and allows young people to bridge the gap in circumstances where otherwise they wouldn’t be able to.”

The centre will host a weekly performance space for music, dance, comedy, spoken word and theatre. Flexible spaces mean one room can serve as a dance studio, cafe, meeting or training area, while other rooms will host games design and code clubs and can be let as workspace for the creative industries.

In addition, ‘Discover’ workshops for those with learning disabilities will include music production, coding and radio workshops, while cooking classes and sociable evening ‘cook-ups’ enhance the centre’s activities further. It is anticipated that schools will also be offered use of the cutting-edge facilities.

Cllr Joe Caluori, executive member for children, young people and families, said: “I’m really pleased that Dragon Hall are on board and I know they have got some amazing plans for this place. There is a real feeling that a lot of the activities here can lead to some exciting opportunities in the tech and creative industries.

“Services for young people are always one of the first to get cut across the country, but Soapbox shows that we are committed to investing in our young people and local communities even when it is difficult to do so.

Cllr Richard Watts, leader of Islington Council, said: “I’m proud that we have turned this building into such a fantastic facility for local young people, who really deserve the investment you can see here.

“This will provide them with a golden opportunity to get a grounding in the creative industries that are on their doorstep.”

Soapbox will be open Monday to Friday from 4pm to 8pm, with a range of drop-in activities at the weekend – see for further details.

It is part of the redevelopment and improvement of the Redbrick Estate, which will see 39 decent, new homes built for social rent, alongside improved outdoor spaces and new retail units.

Islington Council is committed to helping our residents and tackling London’s housing crisis by providing 2,000 affordable homes between 2015 and 2019, including 500 council homes.


Soapbox youth centre opens this week, promising to be one of the best in London.

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Cllr Richard Watts, leader of Islington Council (left), and Cllr Joe Caluori, executive member for children, young people and families (right) with young people at the Soapbox launch event.

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The fully-equipped internet radio studio at Soapbox youth centre, which opens this week.

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