Supporters say loss of grants could end provision of youth clubs
Over 100 young people attend the Brunswick Club on a weekly basis
A campaign has been started to support the Brunswick Club after its provision of clubs for young people in the Fulham area has been threatened due to funding cuts.
The club, situated in Haldane Road near the Clem Attlee Estate, is to have its grant support reduced due to changes in the way youth provision is being supported in the borough. The Sulgrave Club in Shepherd’s Bush is similarly under threat due to the loss of funding.
The money that previously was given to the clubs has been allocated to a national provider Let Me Play.
A petition has been set up by Greg Hands, MP for Chelsea and Fulham, demanding that Hammersmith & Fulham Council restore funding to The Brunswick Club.
Around 100-150 young people attend the sessions at the Brunswick Club for those aged 11-19 each week and over 1,000 are members of what is the largest youth club in the borough.
The club was founded in 1949 with donations by British ex-Prisoners of World War II held in Brunswick, Germany. Local families across generations have been members of the club which has the moot “Brunswick 4 Life, Friends Forever”.
Staff at the Brunswick Club believe that the funding changes could end provision for young people
The Sulgrave Youth Club was founded in 1926 and originally located in Shepherd's Bush before moving to Goldhawk Road in 1936. The inspiration for providing a Youth club for boys and young men within the local community was Edward De Stein, a founding member of the City of London brokers. Alongside a couple of friends, De Stein purchased a property in Sulgrave Road and founded the ‘Sulgrave Club.’ Since then, it has served as a youth club and today offers a very wide range of clubs and activities to local children including cooking, football, basketball, taekwondo, music production and academic clubs.
Nick Sazeides, Club Manager at the Sulgrave Club believes that the cuts will mean around 100 teenagers in the Shepherd’s Bush area will have nowhere to spend their leisure time.
Greg Hands said, “I have been either the Councillor or the MP for the brilliant Brunswick Club since 1998 and one of the Club’s trustees since 2003. I know how vital the Club is for providing football, boxing, chess and other activities for generations of young people in Fulham since 1949, when it was opened by the late Prince Philip. The Council’s sudden ending of funding has come as a huge shock to us at the club, and we urge them to think again. I hope that people power - with residents signing the public petition - will get the Council to reconsider.”
Greg Hands MP has been a Trustee of the club for 20 years
Local councillor Cllr Jose Afonso said, “The Brunswick Club and the Sulgrave Club are essential stakeholders in our community. Labour-run LBHF must U-turn on this disastrous policy and financially support our local youth clubs.”
This Saturday, (1 April), the council said that it would be providing new funding for the centres after several hundred people signed Mr Hands’ petition. It remains unclear whether the local clubs will get guaranteed funding or be required to bid for grants in competition with other local organisations working in the same sector.
The MP said, “Despite this announcement, there are still questions which need answering and I will continue to put pressure on the council to establish how long is the funding for, why funding is being replaced with a bidding pot and what the amount of the funding will be.
“Until the Council provides answers to these key questions, my petition goes on, and I am urging constituents to keep circulating it to friends, family and neighbours keep up the pressure on the council.”
A spokesperson for the council said that funds in this sector are delivered by a third party adding, “The Brunswick and The Sulgrave youth clubs are important institutions which are key to achieving Hammersmith & Fulham’s goal of making our borough the best place in the country for young people to grow up in. They have and will continue to play a hugely significant role in supporting young people and their families. We will shortly be announcing a new fund to support our young people and will be inviting all H&F youth organisations – including the Brunswick and the Sulgrave – to apply for these new, extra grants. We look forward to continuing to support them for many more decades to come.”
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