Council Urged Not To Demolish Southall Youth Centre

Charity calls on borough to retain it as a community hub

Young Ealing Champion Kari campaigning to save the centre
Young Ealing Champion Kari campaigning to save the centre

John Lyon’s Charity (JLC) is urging Ealing Council to rethink plans to demolish a building which is the home to a youth club in Southall.

The borough has decided to redevelop the site of the Young Adult Centre (YAC) which has operated in the area since the eighties. As the biggest independent funder for children and young people in North and West London, JLC points out that Southall is among the twenty most deprived wards in England and says that it believes services like youth centres prove vital in keeping children off the streets and reducing local crime rates.

YAC is one of only three purpose-built youth centres in the entire borough. In the last 10 years, two youth centres have closed in Ealing, including one only a few streets away from the YAC. The neighbouring borough of Hillingdon has seven youth centres and Hounslow has five despite Ealing’s youth population of 108,400 being over 35% higher than Hounslow and nearly 60% higher than Hillingdon.

Dr. Lynne Guyton, CEO of John Lyon’s Charity says, “Over the past 15 months, youth clubs have been a beacon of light for many young people in our Beneficial Area; bringing together different communities, providing sports activities, clubs and a safe space for those at risk of violence and crime. The YAC has been a safe space and community to many young people in Ealing, yet the youth club is now at risk of permanent closure. We refuse to sit back and let this happen and urge Ealing Council to reconsider its decision to demolish the YAC. We welcome them to work with John Lyon’s Charity and other funders to keep it as a thriving community hub.”

JLC says it has reached out directly to Ealing Council to begin conversations and is in full support of the Young Ealing Champions comprising a committee of young people, supported by the Young Ealing Foundation. This group of teenagers from a variety of backgrounds has joined forces to give a voice to children and young people in Ealing to help save the YAC.

Kari, 19, Young Ealing Young Champion says, “I have been going to the YAC since I was 15 and made a lot of friends. Children and young people go there for an escape, they go to learn, they go to socialise. Parents and families often come down too. The young people that use it come from diverse backgrounds, and range in age all the way from five to sixteen. I now work at the YAC with these children, and see personal progression in them that would be impossible without the facility and the opportunities it provides for the community.”

Ealing Young Champions have launched a petition calling on Ealing Council to reconsider their decision to demolish the YAC and to re-establish it as a community hub.

We asked Ealing Council for a comment but they did not respond.

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July 8, 2021