Councillor Launches Fight To Save Local Youth Club

John Todd is challenging cutbacks which threaten Hogarth Youth Centre


Sign up for our weekly Chiswick newsletter

Comment on this story on the

Councillor John Todd has launched a fight against Hounslow Council's plan to cut back youth services, which would lead to the closure of the Hogarth Youth Centre in Chiswick.

Closing the Hogarth Youth Centre in Dukes Road would be a major loss to Chiswick, according to Cllr Todd; "I visited the club last week where there were forty young people playing football and another large group doing cooking, drama, art and computer training. It was a wonderful, warm, safe atmosphere and there is a brilliant committee and staff."

The Council's current youth service budget is £865,000 but is set to be reduced by £650,000 in March 2018, leaving £215,000, with three years of additional transitional funding of £150,000 a year. Cllr Todd says this is "wholly insufficient" to fund youth clubs. The Centre in Duke Road would no longer have full-time staffing as the Council proposes a detached 'mobile' service of youth workers to provide help on the streets across the borough. They would use community facilities in emergencies.

hogarth youth centre

Councillor Todd argues that the matter should be 'called in' for a full Council debate and not left as a decision taken by Cabinet. He argues, amongst other things that:

The consultation was flawed and the "clear unambigious results" from the public were ignored.

There was a lack of consideration of the impact on child poverty (32% of children in Hounslow borough are estimated to be at poverty level).

There was a lack of consideration of the impact on non-youth users, for example, users who are disabled.

The decision contravenes the 2014 Labour Local Authority manifesto to" raise the aspirations of our poorest children locally so they are equipped to succeed, improve services for those with learning disabilities, and ensure proper support for all sections of our community, particularly elderly, isolated or vulnerable residents." Cllr Todd argues the cutbacks contravene those promises.

He says that S106 (now known as CIL) funding can be used for education purposes and this could be apportioned for youth services, he says.

The proposed Council funding of £150,000 a year for youth services was "clearly inadequate". There was a lack of clarity over the budget. The Council had "unrealistic targets and unrealistic assumptions" relating to the issue. The suggestion that youth clubs could continue without buildings and funding was unsustainable, he says. He is now seeking support from Chiswick councillors.

The centre in Duke Road is managed by the charitable Hogarth Trust and partly funded by Hounslow Council. There has already been an angry response in Chiswick with a petition and a march of over 100 people to Hounslow Council's headquarters at the Civic Centre. Over 200 people attended the consultation meeting in Chiswick.

Those who have spoken out against the cutbacks include former Chiswick sergeant Dave Turtle who fears closure could lead to anti-social behaviour, and local school head teachers who spoke of the benefits to their pupils.

August 1, 2017

Bookmark and Share