Young people have perhaps suffered the worst from the suffocating restrictions of lockdown.

But with the gradual easing of some measures next week, Carlisle Youth Zone will be reopening their doors – to much excitement from youngsters across the area.

The youth zone has put strict Covid-19 safety procedures in place and the team is currently working on a timetable for activities for the indoor spaces to be properly and efficiently used as well as reducing any possible spread of infection.

Youngsters are offered a wide selection of sports to get engaged with, from football to lacrosse, boxing, badminton, tennis, netball, basketball and even fencing and climbing and more.

The youth zone also have a gym, which Clint Howat, Youth Work Manager, said “is on a par with any other gym in Carlisle”.

He added: “It is open for anyone aged seven up to 19, or 24 for those with additional needs.”

Clint went on to discuss the benefits of indoor spaces like these for children: “It’s not every day that young people have a facility where they can learn about gym equipment and fitness.

"This way we can help educate them and boost their physical health as well as their mental wellbeing.”

Prior to Covid-19, the youth zone was aiming for 100 seniors per night with anywhere from 100 to a 150 juniors visiting per night.

“Our numbers were about 1,000 or 1,500 youngsters using this building weekly,” Clint said.

“You can imagine how devastating it has been for the building to be closed for most groups.”

Operating under the guidelines of the National Youth Alliance, the building has been open during lockdown but only for targeted groups who have needed it most.

Carlisle Youth Zone has said it will return to open access as soon as possible.

At the moment the building can only facilitate a maximum number of 15 youngsters in a bubble for football or other team-based exercises. However when it comes to targeted activities that don’t require large numbers, Clint has assured that, despite the challenges, they will have five or seven group sessions going at once indoors.

Mr Howat, explained: “The logistics behind that means we fundamentally must keep the bubbles separated. We can’t let them come into contact with the same equipment or same room.

"But we’ll have 60 coming in each night for the first month, and as restrictions go down and as we learn to cope with our methods, we’ll be able to increase that number.”

Het went on to say that young people have experienced the full extent of the misery lockdown has brought – and he can’t wait for the building to open.