Harrow Road Councillor Tim Roca has written to The Leader of Westminster Council, Councillor Philippa Roe, to protest at the proposed closure of the Lydford Youth Club
Re. Closure of Youth Club on the Lydford Estate
At our recent meeting I raised the matter of the Youth Club on the Lydford Estate being closed down without warning and concerns raised by local residents. You were not aware of the closures and suggested that I take the matter up with CityWest Homes and update you.
Harrow Road Councillors and myself have now received a briefing on the positon from City West via Jayne Vertkin, Head of Early Help Services. I am therefore writing as promised and requesting your urgent assistance in view of the serious issue involved, which I outline below.
The facts of the matter are that the Brunel, Ebury Bridge and Lydford Youth Clubs are to close imminently. The consultation with staff affected closes on 7 October and in reality there is no prospect of substantive alternative provision being put in place once they close.
The reasoning behind the closures is that there is a lack of funding and the assertion that the clubs are not meeting local needs due to low levels of engagement with young people.
Local Democracy – There was zero consultation with ward councillors in advance of such a significant decision. An apology has been received from Ms Vertkin and a promise made that we will in future be briefed in a timely fashion. However, you will understand how hollow such an undertaking is now these clubs are just weeks away from shutting their doors.
The briefing we received from CityWest indicates the Clubs have been running a deficit for 2 years, ample enough time you would have thought to engage with Councillors and the wider community. Such a consultation would have allowed a positive debate about the future of the clubs and new ideas about recruitment to be properly considered.
The bigger picture – It seems entirely counter intuitive that at a time when anti-social behaviour such as at the Maida Hill market is causing concern, and neighbourhood policing is being cut dramatically, that positive activities such as youth clubs should be shut down. A serious lack of joined up thinking appears to have occurred, and a failure in communication between, CityWest, the community and local councillors.
Instead of closing down youth clubs we should be talking about how to encourage more people to attend them. Myself and colleagues would ask that you intervene urgently and use your influence to put this decision on hold, so a proper consultation and carefully thought through plan be put in place.
I have cc’d the new Chief Executive of CityWest, in the hope he will positively intervene in this matter.
Councillor Tim Roca
Harrow Road Ward