The group campaigning against the closure of the much-used Wanstead Youth Centre are holding an activity day at the centre on Saturday, hoping to demonstrate to councillors the wide-range of roles the centre plays in the lives of Wanstead young people.
The event will include sports and demonstrations of martial arts – just some of the uses the centre is put to every week.
Redbridge Council is to decide on the future of the centre in September, but the leader, Councillor Jas Athwal, has not sent encouraging signals. In an article in Wanstead Village Directory last month he wrote that “we do need to spend our limited funding wisely “.
The campaign group Save Our Wanstead Youth Centre responded to Cllr Athwal, writing:
“We want to re-iterate our request for the council to grant a moratorium, of at least 12 months, to allow further time to explore and pursue other options and funding streams to retain the only remaining youth centre of its kind in the borough. And to make available, as previously requested, the necessary financial documents to allow this to happen.
We remind the council that over 5,000 people signed the petition to oppose the closure of the centre; and at the public meeting in March many young people spoke about the importance of the centre to their physical and mental health. We sincerely hope this will be central to the decision making in September.
We urge the council to commence a meaningful consultation with the users of the youth centre, to inform the report being compiled for September’s Cabinet meeting.
We would also like to ask for clarity from the council regarding the statement in the article that £14 million that is being invested in the borough into leisure facilities, where in the borough is this investment happening and when? We also request further details on the £4million being spent on the lido in Valentine’s Park and substantiation for the claim the lido will ‘cover its own costs’, as we are unaware of a single open-air lido in the country that is self-sufficient.
We invite councillors, as well as the wider community to come and experience the youth centre by attending the ‘Activities and Fun Event’, which is being organised by the campaign group and held at the centre (114 Elmcroft Avenue, E11 2DB) on 15th July 2-5pm.
The group can be contacted by email at SaveWansteadYouthCentre@gmail.com or can be found on Facebook or Twitter.