This petition is now closed, as its deadline has passed.
We the undersigned petition Westminster City Council to restore funding to the Stowe Club so that valuable services to young people in Westminsrter can continue. More details
Petition update from the council, 19 June 2017Dear Ms Dimoldenberg,
RE: Petition for the Stowe Youth Club
I am writing to you as lead petitioner for the following petition; ‘restore funding to the Stowe Club so that valuable services to young people in Westminster can continue’. The petition has now closed and received 276 signatures.
By way of background I confirm that funding for open access universal youth club provision was withdrawn on 30 September 2016. The decision affected all Westminster commissioned youth clubs and was formalised by the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People on 20 May 2016. The decision to withdraw funding should be viewed against wider reductions to local authority budgets and for Westminster this translates to a saving of approximately £100 million over the next five years. In this context, existing funding arrangements for universal youth clubs are not sustainable.
Prior to the decision to withdraw funding Westminster developed proposals for the establishment of a new Partnership for young people now known as the Young Westminster Foundation. The Council proposes to use its unique position at the heart of London to bring together a range of partners and the private sector to create a more sustainable approach to youth services. A public consultation opened on 4 January 2016 and ran until 31 January, the majority of respondents consulted on changes to youth provision favoured the Partnership approach.
The ambition for the Young Westminster Foundation is to create an innovative, vibrant and sustainable offer for children and young people at a time when public funding is reducing, The Foundation will act as a fundraising vehicle acting for and on behalf of the sector and it’s offer will not be limited to the current model of predominantly local, estate-based youth clubs. The Foundation will consider what a wider landscape of providers, funders and commissioners can achieve by working in collaboration and it will make best use of the unique opportunities presented by Westminster’s location in the heart of central London.
The Foundation is in the process of developing plans to open its membership base and this will include a range of partners across the borough including existing youth club providers. In addition, the Council is committed to ensuring a suitable and sustainable offer of youth provision exists for its young people and to this end, will continue to support the Foundation throughout its development.
Whilst I acknowledge that the Stowe has needed to make redundancies and reduce provision, recent communication with staff confirm that as of 5 June 2017 there will be a continued offer of youth club activity. The Stowe Centre is also currently used by a number of other organisations providing a weekend youth club, drama, dance and singing. It is envisaged that once the Young Westminster Foundation becomes operational in the summer of 2017, it will commence fundraising activity for and on behalf of all clubs including the Stowe Centre, which will lead to greater, more targeted opportunities for young people.
I hope the above is of use. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further queries.
Director of Commissioning for Children's Services
More details from petition creator
Because of Westminster Council cuts the Stowe Youth Club on Harrow Road is being forced to close almost all its services for local young people and lay off its hugely dedicated and experienced staff.
The Stowe Centre is a vital facility in Westbourne ward and is a place where historically young people from the Warwick, Brindley and Amberley Estates and beyond have come for many years to get a break from tough home lives, to take part in activities or just simply have some space. It was once the home to the one of London’s most famous youth football training grounds, known for producing stars like 1980’s Liverpool legend John Barnes. It was also the home of The Cut magazine, written and produced by local young people and created the hit YouTube series Chicken Shop Date as well as a host of other exciting projects.
So as from 1st April the Stowe Centre will only be able to provide a replacement one night a week session for 11-19 year olds. This will be nothing near to what use to be provided and is a massive blow to the community and life choices of the young people in the area.