Hogarth Youth Centre 'Must Be Saved'
Local anger and concern over threatened closure
A campaign may be launched to save the Hogarth Youth Centre, which is threatened by cutbacks in Hounslow Council's youth budget.
Local parents, teachers and councillors are upset that the Centre may close as the Council seeks to withdraw funding of full-time staff in five youth centres across the borough, including the Chiswick one in Duke Road.
Hogarth Youth Centre
A packed meeting of over 200 local people on Monday night heard from two headteachers, and a police sergeant how young local people benefitted from the diverse activities at the centre.
The two full-time and 4 temporary staff at Hogarth would be replaced with a mobile team of "detached youth workers" who would support young people on estates or by doing street work. The Centre is partly funded by the Council and run by the Hogarth Trust charity whose lease expires in 2025.
Sergeant Dave Turtle, who until recently was beat officer for Turnham Green Ward, spoke from personal experience. He praised the mentoring and dedication of the Hogarth Centre's staff and was it was crucial to keep it open. He also recommended that a community impact statement be carried out before any changes were implemented.
The head teacher of the William Hogarth School said that more than 50 pupils a week attended the Centre and it was of great benefit to them. The deputy head of Chiswick School endorsed her comments and said how important the Centre was for teenagers, how it provided stimulation and how it catered to a diverse group.
Cllr John Todd, who attended along with Cllr Adrian Lee, said; "The Hogarth Youth Centre plays a crucial role in Chiswick. As a Governor of Chiswick School I' m conscious that there are a considerable number of children who are on free school meals and that there is a misplaced perception that Chiswick is throughout an affluent area.
"I endorse the views of the parents who highlighted the important role of this centre. The options suggested by Hounslow Council will not work."
The Hogarth Youth Centre provides a range of youth programmes for young people aged 8-21. This includes Junior Club for 8 – 11 year olds, Intermediates Club for young people in Years 7, 8 and 9 and Senior Youth Club for 11-21 year olds.
A wide range of activities include cooking, table tennis, football, dance, arts and crafts, board games, volleyball and more. It also provides holiday programmes, trips and other opportunities for young people.
The Council is proposing that a team of "detached youth workers" will support young people on estates or by doing street work. They will use community buildings across the borough based on levels of need. Hounslow Council has launched a public Consultation on its plans to withdraw full time staffing of five local centres which it says will save £650,000.
The Council says its shortfall in central funding means it has to direct money towards other areas such as youth counselling and respite for young carers in the borough. The £212,000 in its budget will also support mobile outreach for 'hot spot' areas of need, the Duke of Edinburgh scheme, and the Good Shepherd project for young people in Hounslow Barracks who are isolated due to frequent re-location.
Hounslow points out that young people will still be able
to access a range of services provided by organisations such as schools,
churches, leisure centres, libraries, apprenticeship providers, as well
as local authority services such as the 14-19 service and its counselling
service staff gave them a leaflet about the consultation.
January 20, 2017