Wanstead Youth Centre to remain open as ‘education and youth hub’

It looks like Redbridge has done a U-turn on plans to close Wanstead Youth Centre. A statement issued by the council says it is to be turned into an “education and youth hub”, with additional youth services and hirable spaces. It will also be renovated.

The statement comes just days before the council’s cabinet is due to decide on the future of the centre on Elmcroft Avenue. As we reported on Wednesday, campaigners were planning to demonstrate outside the council meeting in Ilford.

The council’s document will be pored over by campaigners to see exactly what the plan involves, specifically whether groups who have hired the facilities in the past will still be able to do so.

The council’s full statement reads:

Redbridge Council to review plans to deliver an education and youth hub in Wanstead

Redbridge Council is proposing to deliver an education and youth hub at Wanstead Youth Centre, securing its future for use by generations of children, young people, and local community groups.

This week, Redbridge Council published a report recommending a way forward for the centre, which includes the delivery of education services, a tuition centre, and an Early Years Play and Development centre alongside adding youth services. The proposals, which would be funded by the council’s Education Service, will go to Cabinet for approval on Thursday 14 September.

The proposals include renovating the building and co-locating education and youth services to create an education and youth hub serving the west of Redbridge. Additional funding would be secured through the council’s ringfenced Education Service to deliver the scheme.

If the proposal is agreed upon, the building on Elmcroft Avenue will temporarily close to outside hirers from Sunday, 15 October 2023, so surveying works can begin. Redbridge Council’s leisure partner, Vision RCL, who operates the centre, have been working with businesses and groups currently hiring space at the centre to help them relocate to alternative venues. Kids In Charge, a childcare service currently based at the centre, will now be located in Nightingale Primary School.

The Leader of Redbridge Council, Cllr Jas Athwal, said: “We’re looking at plans to secure the future of the centre by providing additional education and youth services that will benefit local children, young people, and the wider community.

“We’ve listened to local people who have shared how important the centre is for local young people, and we’re keen to explore ways to provide additional educational services and hire space that operates in a financially sustainable way.

“Redbridge is one of the lowest-funded boroughs in London, and we have been forced to make huge savings of £236million because of government cuts over the past decade. Despite these challenges, we will continue to deliver vital services and invest in what matters most to our neighbours.”

Wanstead Youth Centre incurs a significant net cost, unlike other leisure and community buildings, and requires a council-funded subsidy to operate. In April 2022, a building condition survey was completed, which highlighted that considerable structural work would be essential to bring the facility up to modern standards.

Proposals to renovate Wanstead Youth Centre to create a financially sustainable education and youth hub will go to Redbridge Council Cabinet on 14 September.

To come: Comment from Save Our Wanstead Youth Centre Campaign.

2 thoughts on “Wanstead Youth Centre to remain open as ‘education and youth hub’”

  1. Let’s hope this goes forward.I congratulate all those who have campaigned tirelessly to overturn the decision to close this must needed resource for so many people especially the youngsters.

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